This article examines the transition from a mimetic conception of architecture as proposed by the great treatise writers of the Renaissance, to the modern, science- and engineering-oriented one that began to supplant it in the eighteenth century. The focus of the investigation is the textual culture of Italian Baroque theory and its vehicle, the till now largely unknown corpus of the Sienese scientist Teofilo Gallaccini. It is argued that alongside the traditional path of architectural theory produced by architects, which evolved in the grooves set in the Vitruvian Renaissance, there existed a parallel path driven by scientists. Absorbing the imitatio practices of visual artists into their own inquiries, scientists provided other outlets for their use and in so doing also provided other directions for architectural discourse. By locating Gallaccini's work in the scientific and architectural culture of his own time, and by exploring its appeal to exponents of the Enlightenment who held widely divergent views on the means of achieving architectural reform, this article argues that-far from proceeding by watersheds and paradigm revolutions, as modernist history writing has held-modern theory owes much to both the scientific and mimetic approaches that not only co-existed but also intertwined in the Baroque.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.