For the last couple of month I have become friend with an old book named „Architectura Rectreationis“, written by Joseph Furttenbach in 1640. A special friendship based on highs and lows. It went from getting to know each other to become besties in no time. But let us start from the beginning.
Pure coincidence it was, that I was listed beside the mentioned book. The first impression it made on me wasn’t as expected. The title was written in latin which meant it would be a challenge for us to communicate on the same wavelength. At a second glance I figured out that it‘s actually written in german, although a very old version of it.
On the 11th of November I finally met the book. We were almost alone on the highest floor of the „Zentralbibliothek“ of Zurich. Only one librarian who was so kind to open the door and who guards those sacred books up there kept us company in a small distance. It was quite a heavy one and wanted to be treated gently. I wonder how many people have already read this book. There was no title on the front cover, what made it kind of a mystical book. I got know that the book is divided into registers, which are divided in subchapters. Joseph Furttenbach wrote about civil houses, palaces and gardens. Fortunately, it has actually a large number of pictures and floorplans in it, which made it easier to communicate. The lettres were not easy to decipher, for my untrained eye. In addition, the old german didn’t make it easier. After a while we got along. Although I couldn’t read every single word, I got a pretty good picture of what the book wanted to tell me. The importance of the images was shown by its size (sometimes even foldouts) and a artificial break with a blank page before and after the image. To navigate is easy, because each page is numbered and listed at the beginning.
I gave the book some thoughts after our meeting and wanted to get more information about it. I looked it up on the internet and found several other books, but I couldn’t find that much information about it. It seems that the book has lost some of its shine over the centuries.
To have friends is always a good thing. That I got a new one enriches me. But friendship is based on two parties, which makes me think of what value the book makes of it. It might be valuable for it that it found someone after all these years with whom it can share its stories or to find someone who shares its thoughts and keeps it living that way. Maybe it is as simple as just to be opened so it could breath some fresh air. Generally, I liked to participate in this program, especially to learn the tools to get to know a book even it doesn’t speak the same language.