In the year that I have developed a friendship with the book “Vari disegni de architettura ornati de porte” by Bernadino Radi I ave learned quite a few things. First of all I have never held such an old book in my own two hands before the exercise about visiting it. That was truly a special feeling. I’d only seen such books in museums where I wasn’t allowed to make physical contact. The first thing that I felt was how fragile the book is and why there is such a big fuzz around having to order it specially in the library. The next thing was the size of old books. Mine was bigger than what one would expect an old book to be. The book next to mine was even bigger. These sizes are unimaginable today.
Furthermore, there is an astonishing lack of text in my book. There is only the introduction but after that there are only hand drawn illustrations. I really liked this because it gave insight on the creative mind of Radi. The text is probably just an introduction to guide the reader or in this case looker into the abyss that is ornaments around doors. The pages are separated by another page that is just blank. Another thing I wasn’t expecting was that the book seemed more like a mere collection of ideas instead of an instruction on how to build the best buildings or what the best style was, as many books published then did exactly that. The book probably served as a kind of inspiration for the uninspired architect as it only projects Bernardino Radis own ideas and is not in any way an academic rendition of the orders or other architectural “rules”.
I also learned that this kind of book is probably not as sought after these days as it was written before the time where architects can just access any inspiration on the internet. That is probably also why there has not been a newer edition lately.
In conclusion I can say that the friendship has in fact developed even if I was reluctant at first because it seemed like another annoying exercise that we had to do even though we were already stressed by all the other work we had to do. I would also say that this is my main point of critique. It sometimes seems tedious to research on stuff that isn’t in your interest and with that some of the tasks just seem unnecessary. Despite this critique I really enjoyed “meeting” the book and have a physical encounter.