Conjuring the Concept of Rome: Alterity and Synecdoche in Peruzzi's Design for La Calandria

Berzal de Dios, Javier
March 2014
Sixteenth Century Journal;Spring2014, Vol. 45 Issue 1, p25
Academic Journal
This essay sets forth a nuanced interpretation of Baldassare Peruzzi's stage design for La Calandria (1514) that addresses the spatial disassociations found in the drawing in relation to active modes of visual engagement. Eschewing traditional and overarching generalizations about scenography in the sixteenth century, like the pictorial manifestation of Aristotle's theory of unity through single-point perspective, it shows that Peruzzi presents a multifarious and heterogeneous space, not a defined place in which the action is contained. Using as a fulcrum the flattened, disproportional and paradoxical arrangement of the ruins of Rome, the space in the drawing can be understood to present Rome as a monumental concept. Peruzzi's drawing thus articulates an interplay of relations that, maximizing the artificial by conjuring an anomalous space, displaces the phenomenological expectations of the viewers in order to create a fantastic albeit impossible space that is, ultimately, truer to Rome than any mimetic instantiation of the city.


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