Success in using a map, then, is in a large measure determined by the congruence of the map with the user.
Southworth and Southworth
In my preface I used the word, “representation”. I would like to clarify my own understanding and use of this term. To do this, I call attention to the Greek word from which our suffix “graph” is derived. It has meant: “to write”, “to draw”, “to record”, “to mark”, and “to scratch”. “Representation” will, therefore, refer to both visual and verbal records of the past. This will allow me to select from a greater variety of materials which might otherwise be excluded if one were to understand “representation” as conforming to that mode of visual recording that is both “realistic” and “natural”.
In the discourse which follows, the words “map” and “view” refer to two specific modes of “picturing” (or “imaging”) that are respectively, “schematic” (referring to marks on a twodimensional surface) and “realisticpictorial” (referring to visual arrays which resemble threedimensional, perceptual mass, volume, and space—even if that space is not unified and optically correct).
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The City in History
(Lewis Mumford stated) that the Renaissance city does not exist, or rather that in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries there were no cities which may be called Renaissance in the same way that Siena may be classed as Medieval or Rome as Baroque.
Giulio C. Argan
The Renaissance City
What I propose to examine is not the history of the art of the Renaissance, nor the evolution of a unified pictorial space. It is also not the development of the science of cartography or city planning. Although all of these topics have relevance to the period and to the cultures to which this study is addessed, what I will be investigating is the
*) and to some extent the literary culture of the Renaissance city.
My intention is to present a visual impression of Renaissance imagery that will act as a lents or filter through which one might, in turn, “picture” a city. It is my reading of Mumford that “the Renaissance city” is a product of the mind. And that this mind shares in a classical conception of the city that does not clearly separate value from fact.
By using this imagery of the city, I would hope that a conception of the Renaissance city that is multiple, ambiguous, complex, and most certainly a product of the creative imagination will emerge. This plurality is inherent in such a vast instrument as the city. The curriculum, taken as a whole, is not a study of facts, but a study of representations. Finally, any precise definition of a Renaissance city is elusive, unique, and selfexpressive.
To illustrate the interaction between facts and values, eye and mind, I focus my discussion of images on two basic categories. The first is an analysis of the graphic elements employed in the making of the image. These elements are numerous and they are articulated in a variety of ways: symbols, words, patterns, borders, elevation, ground plan, and perspective drawing. Each element does not appear in every image and different emphasis is given to each element in a particular composition. To use a modern aesthetic term, the result of this employment of graphic means produces a “collage”. Second, the individual graphic elements and their overall effect are examined for their potential cultural implications. Both these categories may not be relevant to each and every composition; while, in others, they may converge in a way that makes their distinctions dimly perceptible.
* I borrow this term from Svetlana Alpers, who in turn credits Michael Baxandall for the coining of “visual culture”, see Alpers’
The Art of Describing