For his book “Les Edifices antiques de Rome”, Desgodetz went to Rome to make detailed studies and inventories of 48 buildings. 25 of these buildings were then included in his publication.The book features drawings by Desgodetz, each supplemented by one or two pages of text.
The drawings are floor plans, elevations, scenes and detailed illustrations. Desgodetz personally made the measurements for the drawings and also checked them several times. That for, his drawings are very detailed and truthfully recorded. With the help of the text, Desgodetz supplements his detailed drawings and thus gives the reader even more information, which he would not have managed with only the drawing. For example, the text often discusses materials, color, and construction, and sometimes points out errors in the illustration.
It was important to Desgodetz not to reconstruct the buildings or even to redesign them. He claimed to reproduce them in their true condition at the time. He wanted the illustrations and the texts to be as accurate as possible.Due to his love and interest in detail, he succeeded in reproducing the buildings almost to perfection.
His work was not only one of the first monumental architectural engravings, but also one of the most influential of its time, and his drawings are still considered some of the best published plans today.
That’s why I decided to go with the concept “detail”. Had Desgodetz not taken the time to survey the buildings with such care, patience and detail, and then reproduce them in the same way, his book would not have the appeal it still has today. His drawings seem to me almost perfect and cannot be associated at all with the term “sketch”. Each drawing is a masterpiece in itself and with the help of shading, they appear three-dimensional and almost as good as a photograph.In addition, Desgodetz has managed to complement his drawings with a text (which has been worked out in at least as much detail as the illustrations) in harmony. Thus, the text and the drawings together produce a detailed rendering of the buildings and columns that Desgodetz covers in his work. His work manages, through its richness of detail, to give the reader the feeling of knowing a building perfectly, without ever having been there. Desgodetz uses language and the power of representation in such a way that nothing is left to chance. No questions are left unanswered, nothing was “just guessed”. Every little corner was looked at, measured, analyzed, described and depicted. The result is a work full of detail, care and precision.
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