The book Columna Cochlis by Pietro Bartoli, which can be considered both as a book of illustrations as well as a self-explanatory glossary for those seeking for a visual definition of the concept of Columna Cochlis, has the aim of portraying and exemplifying the already mentioned concept step by step successively leading to a broader understanding of it as one progresses throughout the book.
On the right side of each set of pages, which are laid out horizontally, we find a framed drawing together with a short explanation in Latin in form of a numbered list of sentences. Each of this drawings of the same dimensions (same with and length) corresponds to a portion of the whole image, which is the result of combining each drawing with the previous one creating a spiral-like visual story, resembling thus to the matter at hand, the Columna Cochlis. Each of this portions of the final image laid out in the book has however its own importance. They are organized in such a way, that the centre of attention is in this case not the result of combining all images together but the individual framed drawings, that are distributed as if they had meaning of its own and were not dependant of each other. It is only when the reader browses through the book, that he understands the story that is being told and realizes that all images are linked together to result in a bigger final drawing. An important hint of the analogy between the final drawing and a real column is found in the technique, in which the drawings are made. In each drawing we find a foreground, which consists repeatedly of soldiers, a castle, huts, among other elements and a background. The foreground is white and the background is black/grey, leading thus to a visual effect of relief. Put it in another way, the drawings have a sculpture-like personality, which is part of the definition of a Columna Cochlis. Important to mention is, that at the beginning and end of the book there is to find some drawings, that do not correspond with the dominant theme of the book. I see however this pages as the capital, base and pedestal of the column, since they provide meaning on its own and are at the same time necessary for the support and understanding of the column.
All in all, the theme of succession present in the book is not only extremely important when wanting to have a visual image of the functioning of this type of column but it is also what makes the book interesting and rich in meaning.