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An international, inter-disciplinary research network on the Accademia Vitruviana?

… and here comes the extended version of the e-mail sent to some probably interested people:

Since I have learned recently, that some of you - in very different disciplines - already worked on persons who once belonged to the Accademia della Virtù or stood in close relation to several of its members, I began to realise that it could be useful to bring everything together: the people (you) who collected the information and worked with the original materials as well as the information already gathered. To me it is obvious that this is far more than any one single person could overview and scientifically deal with – but fortunately, a lot of this work has already been done.

So, the basic question I would like to ask you is, if you think that it could be useful for your own work and disciplines as well as for others to co-ordinate the research regarding the Accademia?

Because the Accademia itself was an international group of people from very different fields (so much that it would be justified to call the Accademia a – if not the first – inter-disciplinary network) it seems plausible to me, that the attempts to get a "big picture" about its activities and working results should be done also by an international and inter-disciplinarey network of scholars. This seems to be even more important if one takes into account the large amount of material that can be attributed to people working within, for or in contact with the Accademia: This is, obviously, much more material  than previously was and could be expected, including most of all manuscripts and drawings – besides the a few printed books that could be attributed to the Accademia's work like Philandrier's "Annotationes" to Vitruvius' 10 Books on Architecture.

I myself, e.g., am convinced that the so-called Codex Destailleur D at the Berlin Kunstbibliothek [HDZ 4151] and many drawings in Vienna and other places belonging to the same circle of draftsmen active in Rome around 1545 – that this large group of drawings was created for the Accademia. My research project, funded by the Swiss National Fund, started in October 2013, and I hope to prove my hypotheses – or at least: to make this incredible anonymous material available to further research. For more information please go to:

If you, too, would answer the question from my e-mail positively, the following question is: What to do next?

I suggest a meeting where we could exchange our knowledge about the Accademians and the results of their works and discuss further steps. Here are some suggestions:

  1. At first, one or two sessions at the next Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America 2015 in March 2015 at Berlin could come to mind. The deadline for session proposals is June 10, 2014.
  2. But I see some obstacles here:
    • a) Some of the research that could be presented (to participants from other disciplines) is some years old, not "fresh" research results, as the RSA rightfully might expect.
    • b) The format of the sessions (20min talk, 5min discussion) is not the ideal environment. I think a sort of round-table would be much more appropriate to discuss first results and co-ordinate future work.
    • c) Though there are some travel grants, most of us would have to pay for the travel, the hotel and the conference fees themselves …
    • d) If we would come to the conclusion that a co-ordinated afford to acquire research funding should be made for a concentrated work on the Accademia material, than the end of March 2015 is a little bit late, because usually the deadlines for funding applications (at least in Germany and Switzerland) are at the end of March and September each year. And the preparation of an application itself takes at least several months …
    • e) But there is also a good side: A meeting in Berlin during RSA 2015 (or around that date in case some of you want to attend it anyway) would (hopefully) give a chance to see some originals and / or meet with the people of the Census of Antique Works of Art and Architecture Known in the Renaissane:
    (Because I have some family and friends in Berlin, I will be visiting the RSA 2015, but as far as I can see not as a speaker.)

  3. October 16-18, 2014, the 4th conference "The Making of the Humanities" takes place in Rome. Regarding the title: what could be a more appropriate environment for the Accademia?
      • But, again, the conference stage is not really a round table, and, again, my vision is rather to find out where we stand (i.e. the research regarding the Accademia) and what should or could be done next, instead of read written papers to others and then (if we're lucky) have 5 minutes for discussions … And also "obstacle (c) counts here, of course. (I will apply visit this converence, too, maybe to present some speculations of mine about what the Accademia has achieved or what later works have been influenced by it.)
  4. The best place (you may wonder how I come to think so … :-) ) for an undisturbed, almost open-ended round-table meeting could be our library at Einsiedeln, which also owns many of the printed works that could have some or any relation to the Accademia. Unfortunately, Switzerland is expansive, and any application for funding a research meeting should have been sent out long ago … but I could and surely would try to find some ways to "circumvent" this limitations, so we could be able to invite you here and pay at least half of the expenses …


So, I hope I didn't bore you too much and you may instead also be interested enough to "join forces" and help to re-discover the – as I would dare to say: – first international and inter-disciplinary network of scholars laying the fundations for Archaeology and some other Humanities …

With best regards

Bernd Kulawik