Teofilo Gallaccini on division of tasks, proportion and forms
Keywords: Division of tasks, proportion, forms
The book “Trattato sopra gli errori degli architetti” is a treatise that opposes architectural mannerism and the early baroque. With this book, new and important views on architecture were given by Teofilo Gallaccini and in this way the mathematician and physician earned his place in the history of architecture. In his treatise we can read that the division of tasks, proportions and forms were very important concepts to him.
By division of tasks is meant that Teofilo Gallaccini wanted the tasks of architects and craftsmen to be clearly separated. For this he even demanded a municipal building legislation. In his demand, the author referred to the Antique and the schemes of monastic building of the Carthusians and Capuchins.
He believed that crucial mistakes can be made during and after construction, for example, in the choice of terrain and materials. Serious mistakes can also be made in the design. For this reason, Gallaccini considered it extremely important that architects make their plans and take decisions that are relevant to their field, and that craftsmen likewise remain in their profession.
When it came to proportions, Teofilo Gallaccini was also very precise and took them very seriously. He criticized the mistakes that were made by not taking into account the optical foreshortening. St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome was always the target of his criticism in this aspect. In his view, the vaulting had been set too low. So Gallaccini demanded that the viewer’s visual conditions be taken into account and that the vaulting was set higher. There are some studies on this subject in his book, where he refers to the eye of the observer and the height.
For Teofilo Gallaccini, the crucial factor is not the numerically defined proportion, but the optically based illusionistic proportion. With his attitude to proportion he undoubtedly represents baroque principles.
The forms also played an immense role for the author of this treatise. He opposes blasted gables and actually also in general the disorderly use of architectural forms.
Gallaccini takes the decoro regulations established by Vitruvius very seriously and for him nothing must be missing and nothing must be redundant. Every element must be in its place with necessity. The non-respect of the doctrine of order and decoro would, in his opinion, lead to deformation and such behavior was against common sense. He argued, “He who violates the buona ragione d’Architettura does not deserve the name of an architect.”
In his treatise he makes his position clear and opposes the separation of architecture and decoration, because for him the decoro constructs the essence of a building. It is determined by necessity and is thus its integral part.