After one year of being friends with my old book, which translates and comments the ionic works of Vitruvius, I must admit that it would probably still take some efforts for the two of us to get married. Mostly due to the fact, that I did not find any versions of it, that are not written in renaissance or barock Italian. Which makes this good friend of mine quite illegible to me. Not only to me, but also to google translate by the way, which utterly failed in getting a hold of his meaning.
Yet we certainly did get closer over these tasks. And while I may not have really understood Vitruvius words any better – due to a translation into a language that I do not know – I feel like I can understand his importance a bit better now.
Most exciting about “Gli oscuri e difficili passi dell’opera ionica di Vitruvio” are definitely all the drawings and illustrations. For whilst the book itself may only be known to a very small handful of scholars, and apparently some first-year students, many of the illustrations are far more widespread and appear in many other books and articles. Also modern ones. I would guess, that this is because of their accurateness and abstinence of a particular style. Rather than just being nice illustrations, they tell a lot about the ionic order even without needing any text accompanying them. This without being reduced to but one style. Instead in this book you can find perspectives, plan views, details, ratios etc etc. Some very artistic, with nice shadowing and very pleasing for the eye. Others barely mathematical, points and lines.
By following nothing but these drawings, I think you can get a pretty good idea of how the ionic order is supposed to look like and to be constructed. At least according to Bertani’s idea of Vitruvius’ idea. If you follow the ratios, lengths, looks of the drawings in the book, you should be able to reproduce very nice and correct ionic columns. I for my part did copy some of the more interesting ones into my notebook, so as to compare them with existing columns that I find and check whether or not they cohere with each other in terms of the more important aspects.
As for some problems on the way, I mostly struggled with finding a decent amount of editions of this book. I did find more than mentioned in the according post, but many of those were very incoherent in lots of aspects. So, for instance, I highly doubted the fact, that the book was issued twice to a patron of the same name, in the same city, just exactly a hundred years apart.
I also had to realise , that the internet, as I have known it, certainly is not the very best way to conduct this kind of research.
So I am looking forward to getting better at that, yet the next time definitely with a book written in a language know to me. I am sure a friendship of that kind would become much closer.