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Hypnerotomachia Poliphili
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adammclean
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 Posted: Sun Jun 29th, 2008 07:10 pm
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When I first came across the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, printed in 1499, I was pushed into the idea that this was some kind of ornate allegory informed by alchemical ideas. The partial English translation to which I had access some 30 years ago, was imperfect and I could not make a proper assessment of the work. I relied on commentators such as Fierz-David and Emanuela Kretzulesco-Quaranta, who it seems now to me were driven by a wish to impose their interpretation on the work rather than see it as it actually is.

The work itself was translated into French in 1546 by Jacques Gohorry who seems to be one of the earliest commentators to give the Hypnerotomachia an alchemical spin. Later, in the early 17th century,  Beroalde de Verville reworked the text and gave it an alchemical interpretation in his Steganographick Preface to his Tableau des Riches Inventions.

I feel now unconvinced that this work was conceived out of alchemical ideas. I wonder if anyone has any further information on the supposed alchemical content of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili.

Tom Willard
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 Posted: Mon Jun 30th, 2008 06:08 am
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Our friend Joscelyn Godwin, who has made a very good translation of the devilishly difficult text, is convinced that it has no alchemical dimension at all.

adammclean
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 Posted: Sat Aug 9th, 2008 12:02 pm
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I only just discovered a book by

Esteban Alejandro Cruz.  Hypnerotomachia Poliphili: Re-Discovering Antiquity Through The Dreams Of Poliphilus, Trafford Publishing, 2006.

This contains more than 50 reconstruction in colour of the architecture described in the Hypnerotomachia.

 

Summaried from the Publisher's blurb

By utilizing the technology of today with the history and traditions of the past, the author developed a first series of digital, artist reconstructions of the architecture and landscapes described in this enigmatic book of the early renaissance. Literary resources such as the works of Leon Battista Alberti, as well as the works of contemporary experts, were reconsidered in order to arrive at a critical and regional development of architectural vocabulary needed to realize these artist reconstructions. In the end, my artwork of Poliphilus' architecture and insight into its significance within the Antiquarian context are presented here as an attempt to share an added deciphering of this labyrinthine text, bringing to life and giving significance to its fantastic architecture and allegorical visions.

 

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Sat Apr 19th, 2014 05:14 am
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This site contains digitisations of the original and of the early French and English translations:

http://architectura.cesr.univ-tours.fr/Traite/Auteur/Colonna.asp?param=

Last edited on Sat Apr 19th, 2014 07:38 am by Paul Ferguson

adammclean
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 Posted: Sat Apr 19th, 2014 09:53 am
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Good to see this material online, though I would like to
have the text of Beroalde de Verville's Tableau des Riches Inventions transcribed into text form, particularly his Preface Steganographique.

adammclean
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 Posted: Sat Apr 19th, 2014 10:02 am
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Here is the promotional material from the book by Esteban Alejandro Cruz. I may be tempted to buy a copy.


Five hundred years ago, an operatic tale of unrequited love and female erotica, launched a more available and sustaining passion in Renaissance architecture. What has remained inaccessible, however, is a complete understanding of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, the text and haunting woodcuts that fascinated European civilization upon its publication in Venice in 1499, inspiring artists, architects, and patrons ever since. The importance of the image has always been a fundamental aspect of iconographic, human communication, and it is the vivid imagery described by the dreamer in search of his lost love and the introduction of more than 160 beautifully, haunting illustrations that has made Hypnerotomachia Poliphili as fascinating today as it was in the late fifteenth century when the Press of Aldus Manutius first published this graphically exquisite book.

The story of Poliphilus, whose lust for the indifferent Polia is rivaled only by the carnal pleasures he encounters in the incredible architecture, gardens, and landscapes of his sleeping imaginations, has inspired centuries of architects to create similar sensuality in the real-life buildings and gardens they designed. The cryptic messages, fantastic architecture, innovative graphic designs and layouts of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili have moved and stirred western culture, prompting translators then and now to seek richer understanding of the author's (or authors') intent. It remains uncertain who wrote the book, but the writer — singular or plural — seemed to want to produce a very spatial and graphic architectural treatise. This text was too visionary for its time, and it was published during a crucial turning point in history. The late 1400s in Rome were not very safe for the intellectually and scientifically curious. Renaissance academies that once flourished under the court of Nicholas V became underground collegiate societies dispersed under the following rule of the Borgia Papacy. The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili was itself discreetly published in Venice, which at that time was an attractive city for its innovative interests and developments, far away from the Papal States. Although I am not attempting to argue as to who wrote the original manuscript, one couldn't help as to suggest that it was a group effort, an innovative way of working together that truly expresses the renaissance and humanist spirit of its time.

Since the Hypnerotomachia came about within this context, the visions and wonders described in the original Aldine manuscript are presented in an overwhelming play of philological and archeological allegories. In order to have a better understanding of what this visionary incunabulum contains, I am, with my project, proposing to use graphical and architectural forms of critical analysis instead of literary studies traditionally associated with scholarly work in the past (whose works I mention in the first chapter "methods"). For this reason, I am proposing: Formas Imaginisque Poliphili, which means "imaginary models of Poliphilus" revealed.

MY CONTRIBUTION TO THE STUDY OF HYPNEROTOMACHIA POLIPHILI

By utilizing the technology of today with the history and traditions of the past, I hoped to develop a first series of digital, artist reconstructions of the architecture and landscapes described in this enigmatic book of the early renaissance. Since I was dealing with building and environmental design, the passages were quite familiar to those of a basic design background: research, vignettes, scale-measurement-proportion, practical simulations, etc., while at the same time, employing experience and methods developed during my previous work with re-constructing historic Bologna. In addition to this, literary resources such as the works of Leon Battista Alberti, as well as the works of contemporary experts, were reconsidered in order to arrive at a critical and regional development of architectural vocabulary needed to realize these artist reconstructions. In the end, my artwork of Poliphilus' architecture and insight into its significance within the Antiquarian context are presented here as an attempt to share an added deciphering of this labyrinthine text, bringing to life and giving significance to its fantastic architecture and allegorical visions. With this in mind, I invite you now to witness the visions of a 500 year old dream of sublime beauty, ferocity, liberty, grace, and most important: Love.

E.A.C. Milan, 2006

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Sat Apr 19th, 2014 10:16 am
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EAC's book is actually in two volumes:

http://tinyurl.com/nbw6syt

http://tinyurl.com/np7tygt

Last edited on Sat Apr 19th, 2014 10:19 am by Paul Ferguson

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Sat Apr 19th, 2014 10:19 am
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adammclean wrote:
Good to see this material online, though I would like to
have the text of Beroalde de Verville's Tableau des Riches Inventions transcribed into text form, particularly his Preface Steganographique.



See:

http://tinyurl.com/owts764


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