A Summer Evening at Racconigi

On hot summer days, one longs for the cooler hours from dusk to dawn. Guarino Guarini had this in mind when planning the country estate of Racconigi (1676ff.), south of Turin, for his patron Emanuele Filiberto, Prince of Carignano.

A few years before Guarini began work at the site, the prince had commissioned the French landscape architect André Le Nôtre to design the extensive gardens on the estate grounds.

Guarini’s main contribution to the complex was his project for remodeling the estate’s medieval castello into a baroque palace, of which only the tract along the garden facade was completed. But the architect also provided other designs for the estate and the adjacent town. One such project was a garden pavilion for the Racconigi grounds, which Guarini used to illustrate a passage about “oblique” architecture in his treatise Architettura civile (published posthumously in 1737). Guarini described the garden pavilion – reproduced above – as:

“…un Casino, o Pinacolo per un Giardino per ritirarli nella State, e massime sulla sera a cena fatto pel Serenissimo Principe di Carignano nel Giardino deliziosissimo, e vastissimo di Racconigi…”

that is:

“…a casino, or gazebo for a garden, to withdraw to in the summer, especially for dinner in the evenings, made for the most serene Prince of Carignano in the delightful and vast garden of Racconigi…”

The text passage refers to the upper image (elevation) on the plate reproduced above, and some of the partial plans on the right of the plate. The lower image (section) is for a different, unidentified design, discussed in the second “Osservazione” of the treatise chapter. The exact position of the Racconigi casino in the park of the castello remains unknown, as do the details of its construction, whether of stone, wood, or brick. Any traces of it must have vanished when the gardens were redesigned in the late eighteenth century and again in the nineteenth century.

The gazebo would have furnished a splendid setting for summer dinner parties in the cool of the evening, with provisions ferried from the kitchens in the main house, or perhaps prepared outdoors. But these delights were reserved for a select few: the prince and his invited guests.

The Racconigi gardens are open to the public today, but only until 7 pm. They feature a bird sanctuary with wetlands for storks and ducks – and some of the storks nest right on top of the castello! Even if you can’t dine in the gardens, it is a refreshing place to spend a summer day.

Links:

Castello di Racconigi (official website)

Castello di Racconigi (page for Racconigi on the Royal Residences of Piedmont website, in English)

Centro Cicogne e Anatidi, Racconigi (bird sanctuary)

● Click on the Google Map below and use Street View to enjoy a virtual stroll through the Racconigi grounds.

Rosaria Cigliano Fellowship Program

Fellowships on the Age and the Culture of the Baroque, 2018 Edition

Once again, I am delighted to share this information about the fellowship program for emerging scholars in Baroque studies run by my friends at the Fondazione 1563 per l’Arte e la Cultura in Turin. This year, the fellowship program has been renamed in memory of the late president of the Fondazione 1563, Rosaria Cigliano, who died in December 2017. The topic for the 2018 edition is “Landscape and Nature (1680-1750).” Please use the links below to learn more, and address any questions directly to the Fondazione 1563.

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The Rosaria Cigliano Fellowship Program aims to assign individual fellowships to promote original studies on the Age of Baroque, also in an international comparative perspective.

Research proposals for the 2018 call will need to pertain to the following theme:

Landscape and Nature (1680-1750)
A fundamental indicator of the variation of cultural aspirations between the late Seventeenth and the mid-Eighteenth century is the representation of the natural world and the landscape. The Seicento is the century of scientific breakthroughs and sees the formulation of new theoretical canons of representation of nature, through a doctrine that aims to amend natural features and thus to improve on them. As modernity gains momentum, in the Eighteenth century nature reclaims its centrality and authoritativeness with a great variety of outcomes in the European centers of literary, philosophical, artistic, musical, and architectural production, where the new priorities combine, connect, mitigate and find liberation from the sedimentation of earlier traditions.

The competition is open to researchers born after 1st January 1983 holding a university or master’s degree, or other equivalent degrees, issued by an Italian or equivalent foreign University.

Priority will be given to applicants holding a PhD or equivalent from an Italian or foreign university.

Applications will be submitted exclusively using the forms available online and following the procedure indicated on the Foundation’s website under Chi siamo/Bandi/Procedure in corso/Borse di Alti Studi 2018 at www.fondazione1563.it.

Applications must be submitted by 22 July 2018 at h 24.00 (midnight).

Important: For the complete Notice of Competition for the fellowships, consult the PDFs in English or Italian.

Deadline 22 July 2018