“The so-called 'Left-Hand Path' - that of Kaulas, Siddhas and Viras - combines the... Tantric worldview with a doctrine of the Übermensch which would put Nietzsche to shame... The Vira - which is to say: the 'heroic' man of Tantrism - seeks to sever all bonds, to overcome all duality between good and evil, honor and shame, virtue and guilt. Tantrism is the supreme path of the absolute absence of law - of shvecchacarī, a word meaning 'he whose law is his own will'." ― Julius Evola, The Path of Cinnabar.

“It is necessary to have “watchers” at hand who will bear witness to the values of Tradition in ever more uncompromising and firm ways, as the anti-traditional forces grow in strength. Even though these values cannot be achieved, it does not mean that they amount to mere “ideas.” These are measures…. Let people of our time talk about these things with condescension as if they were anachronistic and anti-historical; we know that this is an alibi for their defeat. Let us leave modern men to their “truths” and let us only be concerned about one thing: to keep standing amid a world of ruins.” ― Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga.

“We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who died at his post during the eruption of Vesuvius because someone forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one that can not be taken from a man.” ― Oswald Spengler, Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Danteum

The Danteum is an unbuilt monument to Dante Alighieri designed by the modernist architect Giuseppe Terragni at the behest of Benito Mussolini's Fascist government.

The structure was meant to be built in Rome on the Via dell'Impero. The intention was to celebrate the famous Italian poet Dante Alighieri, whose Divine Comedy glorifies Imperial Rome and extols the virtues of a strong secular government. Though it was not constructed, the design was presented at the 1942 Exhibition in Rome.

Compositionally, the Danteum is conceived as an allegory of the Divine Comedy. It consists of a sequence of monumental spaces that parallel the narrator's journey from the "dark wood" through hell, purgatory, and paradise. Rather than attempting to illustrate the narrative, however, Terragni focuses on the text's form and rhyme structure, translating them into the language of carefully proportioned spaces and unadorned surfaces typical of Italian Rationalism.

Since the form of the Divine Comedy was itself influenced by the architectural structure of Byzantine churches, the Danteum is in a sense a translation of a translation. Because of the complex of literary, artistic, and architectural meaning associated with the design, the theorist Aarati Kanekar regards it as examplary of how a spatial structure can express a sophisticated poetic meaning without an explicit "vocabulary" of architectural symbols.

Thomas L. Schumacher, The Danteum, New York, Princeton Architectural Press 1985
Aarati Kanekar, "From Building to Poem and Back: The Danteum as a Study in the Projection of Meaning Across Symbolic Forms" in The Journal of Architecture volume 10 issue 2 April 2005 (RIBA & Routledge)
Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danteum
Categories: Italian fascist architecture

1 comment:

Delta said...

Fascinating! Have you seen the film "Il Conformista" (The Confromist, by Bertolucci)? Theme aside, the photography is a lovesong to Italian Fascist architecture and aesthetics. One of the best looking movies ever made. Your thematic interpretation of that film would also be most interesting...