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Monday, March 18, 2013

Mrs. Festini's Breakdown, parts 1350 - 1353



1350. It was during one of Mrs. Festini's lectures: she was telling us about Brunelleschi, and his struggles to convince the Florentines to accept his plan for the building of the dome over the cathedral, a project left unfinished for 100 years for lack of an architect with an acceptable plan to build it. I can't now remember exactly what she said, but it is a famous little  story about...well here it is in short, I have it on my iPad, it is worth remembering so I will print it out so you can read it.


1351. Vasari: In the year 1420 were assembled all those experts from the north of the Alps and from Tuscany , along with all the most able Florentine designers; and Filippo Brunelleschi himself returned from Rome. They assembled in the Office of Works of Santa Maria del Fiore, to listen to each artists' suggestions and then reach a decision on how to vault the cupola of the Cathedral. 




 1352. It was wonderful to hear the strange and  diverse opinions on the subject: some said that piers should be constructed from ground-level; others said it would be well to make the cupola out of pumice stone so that it would be less heavy; many agreed that the cupola should be raised in the form of a groin vault , like that of San Giovanni at Florence. 



1353. There were even some who suggested that the best method would be to fill the void with a mixture of earth and coins so that when it was completed those who wanted to could be given permission to take away the earth and in that way it could all be removed quickly without expense.


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