Descrizione e studi dell’insigne fabbrica di S. Maria del Fiore – Sgrili
The book “Descrizione e studi dell’insigne fabbrica di S. Maria del Fiore” by Bernardo Sansone Sgrilli describes and depictures the old cathedral of S. Maria del Fiore, which was completed in 1436. It’s original construction, however, already began in 1296.
The layout of the book follows a simple, but effective structure. The first few pages give dedication to everyone that helped accomplish the book. Following the dedications are two pages that are addressed to the reader and seem to describe Sgrilli’s intentions, that he had whilst writing the book.
After these initial pages, it finally addresses the main subject of the book, the cathedral of S. Maria del Fiore. On this page (number III) we also get to see the first illustration of the cathedral, which shows an entire overview of its exterior. Like all the other illustration in the book, it is followed by an accompanying text.
The rest of the book gives quick explanations to seventeen different figures. Each of the figures has a description that is structured in the same way. The figure is first described in a short-written text that mostly consists of one to three pages and is then accompanied by a matching illustration.
However, the way that these illustrations are being placed and shown in the book, don’t give them a secondary meaning. Nether the written text nor the illustrations seem to have a more important function. They are both equally important. This is shown by the size that the drawings take. They often take up the space of two separate pages, when the text might only take up one.
The illustrations help clarify and underline the points that were made in the short descriptions. They give visuals to the reader and therefore support Sgrillis analysis. Whilst we don’t necessarily need the drawing to have our own picture of it in our head, it perfectly gives us the vision that Sgrilli had whilst writing the book. Additionally, they transport information in a different way then the written words, giving us even more detail than we would have had by simply reading the text. Some illustrations might be vague and only for the purpose of giving a grand overview, while others are extremely precise and show every little crack and crevice that can be found in the walls.
Without the use of illustrations, in my opinion, the book would be a lot harder to follow and might even be confusing, when not directly in front of the cathedral.
3. example, structure, repetition