n the first half of the eighteenth century, political and economic relationships between European nations and the Ottoman Empire increased the number of travellers to sites ranging from the Syrian desert to Cairo. These relations were reflected in art and culture: the Vedute – together with maps, sculptural and architectural drawings – exposed readers to sophisticated images of this little known world. With his Entwurff einer historischen Architektur, Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach (1656–1723) relies on an unfettered architectural fantasy that immediately fascinates the architects of the Enlightenment: in addition to the Temple of Solomon and the most important archaeological structures of Rome, there are several reconstructions that have influenced the imagination of European architects. These include the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (I, 6), the Temple of Nineveh (III, 10); the pyramids of King Moeris (I, 11); the pyramids of Thebes (I, 13) and of King Sotis (I, 14); the obelisk of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus in Corinth (I, 20). In France, as early as 1724, the Mercure de France had presented the book to its readers as ‘an incomparable work’; while in 1754 Jacques-François Blondel included it among the essential books for the study of architecture. A similar, albeit more troubled process may be found in Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–78) and his crowded compositions, where Rome, Greece and Egypt find a perfect, precarious equilibrium, to the point where they collapse into his Prisons of Invention, finding a follower in the work of Jean-Jacques Lequeu. The aim of this paper is, therefore, to trace an imaginary line that connects the reflections of the ‘historical’ inventive strength from Fischer and Piranesi, creators of oriental architectural models that spread across Europe in the eighteenth century, contributing to the creation and popularisation of the taste for the Orient that was perceived as a chimera by the West.

Reception and Dissemination of Oriental Imagery in the Eighteenth Century: from Fischer von Erlach’s and Piranesi’s Architectural Plates to Lequeu’s Architectural Fantasies

Elisa Boeri
2018-01-01

Abstract

n the first half of the eighteenth century, political and economic relationships between European nations and the Ottoman Empire increased the number of travellers to sites ranging from the Syrian desert to Cairo. These relations were reflected in art and culture: the Vedute – together with maps, sculptural and architectural drawings – exposed readers to sophisticated images of this little known world. With his Entwurff einer historischen Architektur, Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach (1656–1723) relies on an unfettered architectural fantasy that immediately fascinates the architects of the Enlightenment: in addition to the Temple of Solomon and the most important archaeological structures of Rome, there are several reconstructions that have influenced the imagination of European architects. These include the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (I, 6), the Temple of Nineveh (III, 10); the pyramids of King Moeris (I, 11); the pyramids of Thebes (I, 13) and of King Sotis (I, 14); the obelisk of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus in Corinth (I, 20). In France, as early as 1724, the Mercure de France had presented the book to its readers as ‘an incomparable work’; while in 1754 Jacques-François Blondel included it among the essential books for the study of architecture. A similar, albeit more troubled process may be found in Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–78) and his crowded compositions, where Rome, Greece and Egypt find a perfect, precarious equilibrium, to the point where they collapse into his Prisons of Invention, finding a follower in the work of Jean-Jacques Lequeu. The aim of this paper is, therefore, to trace an imaginary line that connects the reflections of the ‘historical’ inventive strength from Fischer and Piranesi, creators of oriental architectural models that spread across Europe in the eighteenth century, contributing to the creation and popularisation of the taste for the Orient that was perceived as a chimera by the West.
PROCEEDINGS of the FIFTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of the EUROPEAN ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY NETWORK
978-9949-594-64-1
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1074904
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