I started the conversation with the most obvious words: obelisk and Rome. While “obelisk” was a good conversation starter, the word Rome opened the door of Roman history, of Roman architecture and Italy in general. To narrow down the results, I tried the combination of “obelisk in rome”. And came across a book named “Adolf Loos The Art of Architecture” written by Joseph Masheck. He used the word obelisk in a context to describe how old and outdated something was. This awakened my curiosity, who was Adolf Loos, why was obelisk used negatively and what was this book written about. I researched to get answers.
Adolf Loos was a critical Austrian architect of the 19th century. He was one of the first architects, who described and admired the modern architecture. Clearly, something built in the past was outdated for his mind. The connection I gather between de gli obelischi di Roma and this book is that both explain elements of architecture. While one is focused on the modern art of it, the other tells the story of obelisks.
This conversation reminded me of the meaning the obelisk holds. That it relates to religion. That’s why I typed the word religion to start the conversation with Alice. One quote caught my eye while scrolling through the results: These are not religions; they are art forms—but then, religion relies so heavily on art that we can hardly distinguish one from the other. This quote is from the book The Sympathy of Things – Spuybroek. It is a great reminder of how much of religion is based on art. The music, the paintings, the mosaics, the buildings etc. Religion could maybe even be seen as a genre of art. The quote here is inspiring, philosophical and positive towards religion. In my behalf this is one of the biggest connections between these two books. Michele Mercati not only studied philosophy but was also inspiring with his ideas of the past architecture. Also, he treated obelisks with respect, although it was clear to him, that they must have been built by humans, he stayed respectful and wrote even a book explaining his points.
This maybe also explains the question I asked myself in the Argument post. While the book is not religious it starts with the words “Beatissimo Padre”. This is probably a way of Michele Mercati to show how respectful and faithful he is, although he is questioning a construction of religion.