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4.2 A ‘megalomaniac’ project – finishable in «less than three years»?

erstellt von Kulawik Veröffentlicht 05.06.2019 20:47, zuletzt verändert: 05.06.2019 20:47

This long though still short overview of the project formulated by Tolomei and of (some of) the printed books and manuscript sources that may be related to it should now support his claim that by dividing the work among many learned men the entire enterprise could be finished in less than three years:

A qualcuno parerà forse che questa sia troppo grande, e troppo malagevole impresa, e ch’ella abbracci troppe cose, le quali non sia mai possibile condurre a fine […] Concio sia cosa, ch’ogni grandissimo peso col partirlo in molte parti si fa leggiero. Cosi partendosi tra tanti dotti huomini queste fatiche, non é dubbio che’n manco di tre anni si condurran tutte a fine [Tolomei 1547, 84v].

To someone it may appear that this would be a too big and too troublesome enterprise, and that it regards too many things which will never be never be brought to an end. […] Be it as it may, but every heavy weight can be made light by dividing it into many parts. By dividing the work among many learned men, this work, there is no doubt, will not take more than three years to be brought to an end.

In fact, there are now at least 168 persons known who directly or indirectly contributed to the project and/or were members of Tolomei’s academic network, among them cardinals and bishops, philologists and poets, doctors and engineers, architects and artists and even printers and publishers. Together, they are responsible for ca. 80 publications — books as well as maps — which came out betwenn 1544 and 1623. And in addition, they left immense amounts of manuscript materials as well as drawings, most of which have not been studied yet or not put into their context: Tolomei’s Accademia de lo Studio de l’Architettura.

Therefore, and even there still has to be done a lot of work to regain the results of the project described by Tolomei, it can safely be assumed already by now that this project was not only the first to deserve the characterization of «international» and «interdisciplinary». But with regard of the immense influence of such works as the books by Vignola and Palladio on the development of European and Western architecture, one may even say that Tolomei’s project, even though almost forgotten, achieved its aims.