Day 92 : Roman

RomanArchFound three left-handed architects  – All from Italy. Raphael (1483 – 1520), Rafaello de Montelupo* (1504/05 – 1566/67), Francesco Borromini (1599 – 1667).

Our illustrations are going back to the first century when the Romans believed that public buildings should look impressive. The way they built arches and domes allowed them to build massive structures that could bear incredible weight. Case in point, the Pantheon, which has a coffered ceiling, is almost 2000 years old and still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. Originally coffered ceilings, consisting of recessed panels, were designed to make stone ceilings lighter. The oldest known use of coffering in a ceiling was in 7BC, in San Giuliano, Italy. Today coffer is used more decoratively, to add interest or improve acoustics in a room.

*A side note, written in Raffaello de Montelupo’s autobiography (he was Michelangelo’s student), “I will not omit to say that by nature I am left-handed, and, finding that hand more facile than the right one, I used to write with it, since my teacher did not mind, being satisfied that my handwriting was good. I have therefore always used the left hand, be it for writing, be it for drawing some designs from the Mogarnte, which was used for reading at school. From the moment that I held the sheet lengthwise, in order to write with the left hand, many were astonished, thinking that I wrote “all’ebraica” [“Hebrew-style”, i.e. right-to-left] and that [my writing] could not be read later. . . . As I have already said, I draw better with the left hand, and once when I found myself drawing the “Arco di Trasi al Colosseo” (the Arch of Constantine), Michelangelo and Sebastiano del Piombo passed by and stopped to watch me. It should be prefaced that both of them, though naturally left-handed, did everything with their right hand, except actions requiring force. So they stayed a long time to watch me with great wonder, because, as far as is known, the two of them never made anything with their left [hand].

Kelly: Aqueduct of Nerja, Andalusia, Spain

Sandy’s year long journey – going from being a right-hander to left-hander, and Kelly’s parallel trip as a left-hander doing things as a right-hander.


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