I decided to give Camillo Agrippa Milanese’s treatise, di trasportar la guglia in su di la piazza di San Pietro, the concept of a user manual because I believe it is a book that explains in detail what to do, in what order, how to do it and what materials to use. Camillo Agrippa describes his method perfectly so that others can learn it, understand it and make use of it, which is why I thought it might be an instruction manual. The first page of the treatise starts with a sort of “Captazio Benevolenza” towards the illustrissimo & eccellentissimo Giacomo Boncompagno, Signore e Duca and other illustrious gentlemen, those who ask to be allowed to move the spire. Following this method the author makes appreciations to the gentlemen and explains the main motivation that led him to write the treatise. Agrippa explains that as soon as he arrived in Rome (October 26, 1535) he heard about this great undertaking of moving the spire in St. Peter’s Square from some colleagues including the aforementioned Michelangelo Bonarota. The author makes his way through all of them and finally explains his own method, which is easy. From page six away he describes the dimensions, the particularities and the whole spire, from these pages the concept of manual becomes more and more present.
“Sopra questi curli ci andranno a destra e sinistra dodici corde di quercia, sei per banda, lunghe sette e mezza, grosse un palmo e un quarto circa, alte un palmo e mezzo, tutte a misura ben lavorate e ben composte.”
Each action is explained in great detail, with essential descriptions, in twenty-seven pages he finishes explaining every detail, once the spire has been placed rightly, then and only then does Agrippa speak to the readers, “Lettori intendenti”. The last page in fact serves as an explanation to readers, Agrippa says that yes, there were certainly other methods of transporting the spire, each engineer proposed one and each design represented the soul of its own engineer. But the method explained far and wide by the author was surely the best, the safest, the easiest and the shortest. So to recap, the entire treatise is based primarily on the perfectly described explanation of how to transport the spire to St. Peter’s Square. Agrippa leaves nothing to chance or at the mercy of the workers, he has already decided everything in detail, which is precisely why I chose this concept, I see it throughout the book, in every sentence.
Instruction, Detail and Architect
These are the three key words I decided on for this treatise. The first because Agrippa gives instructions, the second because it describes everything in detail, and the third because in my opinion it encapsulates everything.