In some friendships the day comes when the ways separate. And for me and my friend (“Traité d’architecture, ou Proportions des trois orders grecs”, by Jean Antoine, 1768) that day is today. I was assigned to this book last semester and during the different tasks such as Location, Contact, Lineage and Text & Image, I got the chance to get to know my friend very well.
In the first task I tried to find my book. Online and its physical location. There were two location in our immediate environment such as the Zentralbibliothek in Zurich or the library in Einsiedeln. I even found one version online and had little gaze into my new friend.
In the second d task I’ve spent some time with my friend. I visited the version in the Zentralbibliothek in Zurich and had a closer look to the book. I went through the pages and counted the images, I read more passages of the text and tried to understand it, because it is written in French. Another impressive thing is, that the images are drawings, probably pencil, and that these images were also created by the author. So you find little artworks in this book.
Even though I didn’t understand everything, there was still some sort of fascination to the book because of its age and its precise description of architecture at that time, when it was much more difficult to find the information you need.
In the next task I wanted to know if there are any revised version of my friend before 1800. Sadly, I didn’t find one. The fact, that there wasn’t a second version led me to the thought, that back then it might was very difficult for authors to publish the same book again. I think it also depended on how important the text and the author himself to the other architects was.
In the second last task, Text & Images, I tried to find the order in the book. How is my friend organized? In the beginning there is an index of the illustration which you find in the main part of the book including a short description, what Antoine wanted to show. Then, a long foreword, followed by a quiet long list of ancient an (back then) modern architects opens the book. This foreword including the list is about 60 to 80 pages, then the main part begins. To this point I am not sure if I should think the index in the beginning is clever or not. It might be a little laborious for the reader to check the index to fully understand Antoine’s intentions, what he wanted to show with the illustration.
In the last task, my friend met other friends. We had a closer look to other books with the same main topic and it was interesting to see, that Antoine wasn’t the only one thinking about his ideas in architecture and what he wanted to say about it. I learnt a lot during this friendship. Whether it was about Antoine, about authors back then or even about architecture and I hope whoever got the chance to meet this friend will appreciate his friendship the same as I did it.