Precision – illustrations – comprehension
The concept that I have chosen and which in my opinion best encapsulates the content of my ancient book (V columnae, written by Hans Blum) is “anatomy”. I do not mean it in the medical sense of the word, but what I mean is that the author presents a detailed analysis of a subject and all its main components. The subject in this case is the column (in all its architectural orders) and one of its many components is the capital. In fact the book contains many illustrations and drawings that explain the anatomy of the column clearly and precisely, and this reminded me of the anatomy books that we used to read in biology class in high school, therefore I have chosen “anatomy” as main concept of V columnae. Even though it may seem a term that usually belongs to the world of natural sciences, I find it appropriate to describe what Blum really wanted to show, namely the description and use of the “five columns”.
The drawings in the book are so big that in some cases they take up two full pages and are always accompanied by what I believe are descriptive paragraphs (the book is written in old German, which unfortunately makes it very difficult for me to understand the text). I personally think that these illustrations are detailed enough to be very understandable. They are clearly very analytical and show the system of proportions of columns, however, they do not have too many superfluous details that could confuse the reader.
I admire the fact that the book has a linear and very systematic structure, which also helps to facilitate the comprehension of the covered topics. The book begins indeed with a two-page long preface, followed by five chapters dealing with the theme of columns divided by order (these are the chapters where there are very large drawings). Blum chronologically begins with the Tuscan order, followed by the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders (these last two chapters include two parts each). This initial section ends with the chapter on the Composite order. After that, there are two pages describing first the Ionic and then the Corinthian capitals. With the incipit “Von der” for every order except the Tuscan one (for example “Von der Dorica”) begins a new section in which the author seems to give more exhaustive explanations about the orders. The last part of the book includes a series of drawings of buildings without given context, which I understand as examples whereby the five orders described by Blum are applied.