The Ovidian themes of fertility a metamorphosis that Vanvitelli listed in his

The ovidian themes of fertility a metamorphosis that

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program of his father’s gardens.The Ovidian themes of fertility and metamorphosis that Vanvitelli listed in his publication were carefully determined as a Vichian mythopoeic historiography of the land. The fountain sculptures reference both the king’s passion for hunting here and the site’s historical association with the virginal goddess of the hunt, Diana.At the top of the park, a dramatic ensemble of statues play out the scene of Actaeon’s fateful encounter with the goddess in her bath who in her ire flings drops of water onto the hapless hunter who is transformed into a stag and devoured by his dogs. In other ensembles along the water chain, Adonis departs on his fatal hunt and Venus uses his blood to seminate the earth with anemones.The statues describe the region’s mythic foundations in the acts of gods. All elements of this monarchic project are concatenated along the water’s course, garden, palace, and on to the new city of Caserta. In front of the palace, a vast elliptical piazza opens, delineated by the severe forms of barracks and service buildings. Its geometry begs a comparison to Bernini’s piazza at Saint Peter’s but here the architectural gesture is stern and military beneath the monarch at his loggia controlling with his gaze this place and the model town that expands from it, the center of a wisely governed realm. From here a radiating trevium and an orderly grid of streets were planned with decorous, uniform blocks to guarantee light and air to the residential units. Contemporary interests in urban planning exhorted the monarch to the organization of cities, a duty that brings with it not only considerable public utility but also effective political propaganda. Caserta was designed not to replace the capital city but, like Versailles, to rise alongside as an ideal image of the monarch’s rule. 36 the architecture of modern italy
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the challenge of tradition, 1750–1900 1.12 Luigi Vanvitelli with Carlo Vanvitelli, Reggia, Caserta, 1751–. Garden fountains
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The axis of the palace and garden was to continue over the horizon to Naples along a single road carrying with it the waters of the aqueduct in flanking canals.The union of monumental aesthetic and functional utility characterizes the particular strengths of Vanvitelli’s vast plan and the absolute power of Carlos’s rule. Contemporaries hailed Caserta as the greatest project of its kind. Milizia gushed with praise calling it “a rare complex of grandeur, of regularity, of rhythm, of variety, of contrasts, of richness, of facility, of elegance.” Antoine-Chrysostôme Quatremère de Quincy, the French critic, lauded its unity of conception and unity of execution, others its sublime effect of symmetry and expansion, huge dimensions, and controlled singular vision.While concepts of the sublime were being developed across Europe,Vanvitelli himself described Caserta as “a true mirror in which His Royal Highness can see himself ...and the sublime Ideas conceived by his magnificence,” and claimed that it would “show to Italy, and to all Europe, what sublimity the thoughts of his Majesty reach.”
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  • Spring '17
  • Archt. De Veyra

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