I immediately knew from the beginning that I wouldn’t want to search on the topic of «architecture» because it seemed to plain and obvious to me. Since the book «LI CINQUE ORDINI DELL’ARCHITETTURA CIVILE DI MICHEL SANMICHELI» is all about the five orders it was clear to me, that those would be my first focus of research. Thus I already had a conversation starter. Then I thought about a possible topic and found that even though my book was from the renaissance and it’s point of view about the orders, antiquity was the reason it existed. So the last thing I needed was a brain. This I wanted to leave open to chance and therefore switched Alice’s brain many times. I started in the middle of the list but was a little disappointed with Alice’s suggestions.
But then I went to the beginning, the Xenotheka Library, and found a quote that just said: «Five orders!». This short exclamation immediately caught my interest. Also the Title «The Stones of Venice» reminded me of my last holiday in Italy. So I read further into the context and found a very harsh critique of the concept of the five orders. John Ruskin favors in the paragraph clearly the Gothic style with its creativity and diversity. According to him the aesthetics of the five orders were nowhere near the beauty of the inventive Gothic ones. «There is no side chapel in any Gothic cathedral but it has fifty orders, the worst of them better than the best of the Greek ones…». During my research about the book I found out that John Ruskin made many illustrations – a nice coincide because also Michel Sanmicheli used them for his arguments.
With this head start I continued my conversation with Alice but got stuck again. Therefore I thought again about my initial book: Many of those column books were simply used by artisans as a sort of inventory or for the drawings of the classical proportions. So my idea was to talk about «execution» in the topic of «proportion».
When scrolling through the Alberti and Vitruvius Library I stumbled upon a translation from 1988 from Alberti’s «On the Art of Building in Ten Books». The proposed quote by Alice says: «It is remarkable how some natural instinct allows each of us, learned and ignorant alike, to sense immediately what is right or wrong in the execution and design of a work.» I immediately found this correct and know that it happened to me many times. Without even closer looking at something one can easily sense if it is well executed.
With this nice statement I could finally end my first longer conversation with Alice.