03In their form and in their making, the two villas echo this suave view of the cosmos. They are microcosms mirroring the macrocosm;machineries for ediﬁcation. The intrinsically cosmological nature of themachine is described by Daniele Barbaro in his 1556 translation andcritical edition of Vitruvius’s
– a text that Scamozzi admitsto having read several times.
First, every machine is born from the nature of things, and iscontrolled by the masterly courses of the heavens. Considering thecontinuous (
) nature of the Sun, Moon and the other ﬁvestars, if the machine did not rotate then we would not have lighton earth and the ripeness of fruits … and in the many convenientthings surrounding life.
Barbaro writes that a machine is an amalgam of ‘force and imagination(
)’; it is the result of the art of thinking well, of ‘the thinking …thatmakes us devise machinations (
il pensiero… che ci fa macchinare
The idea of the building as a stunning apparatus, a man-made echo of the cosmic order, is restated by Andrea Palladio in the preface to the
of his treatise:Indeed if we consider what a beautiful machine the world is,the marvellous embellishments with which it is ﬁlled, and how the heavens change the seasons of the world by their continuousrevolutions according to the demands of nature and how they maintain themselves by the suave harmony of their measuredmovements, we cannot doubt that … these small temples which we build must be similar to this vast one which He, with boundlessgenerosity, perfected with but a word of command.
Furthermore, in his guide to the antiquities of Rome, Palladio again usesthe expression ‘
macchina del Mondo
’ in describing Nero’s Domus Aurea:The main hall was round and was turning constantly, akin to themachine of the world.
Palladio’s own best-known
is the Villa Rotonda, a summerhideaway on the outskirts of Vicenza. In his treatise, Palladio points outthat it sits amid hills ‘which resemble a vast theatre’.
The villa can be seen04as the axle of the machine of the world, rotating virtually through itsquadripartite symmetry. At the time of that ﬁrst visit to Casa Girasole, I knew little about Veneto architecture but was an avid reader of a contemporary of Palladio,Teoﬁlo Folengo.
It was Folengo who instilled in me an enthusiasm for theMacaronic art, so called from macaroni, an ancient savoury foodstuff ‘bound together with ﬂour, cheese and butter, which is fat, coarse andrustic (
quoddam pulmentum farina, caseo, botiro compaginatum, grossum rude,et rusticanum
Macaronic thinking conceives of inﬁnite possible worlds whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference nowhere, that haveno beginning and no end. By means of intuition, individuals can harnessthese inﬁnite worlds. Through their changing corporeal presence, they candeﬁne their core, creating an intelligible sphere. Adopting a typicalRenaissance image, this sphere can be seen as a
(pumpkin) – as ahead, an empty container, or both: an inhabitable intellectual sphere.
Towards the end of Folegno’s mock epic masterpiece
, theeponymous hero and his companions, a group of young outlaws ﬂeeingfrom the small village of Cipada, make a ﬁnal descent into Hell. There they ﬁnd an enormous dried up pumpkin, big enough, had it still been squashy and edible, to make a soup (
) to feed the entire world. The hollow pumpkin is ﬁlled with fraudsters, with those who propagate fables andcultivate vanities: philosophers, poets, singers, astrologers. In thepumpkin, they are punished: for every lie they have told while they werealive, demons pull out a tooth; and as each tooth is pulled, a new oneerupts in its place. At this point, Folengo interrupts the narration andinserts himself into the tale to afﬁrm: ‘the pumpkin is my fatherland(
zucca mihi patria est
)’. Baldus and his friends can go on to defeat thedemons, but Folengo will halt in
of his Parnassus, thecosmological machine of the
.Macaronic thinking takes an ironic view of political, religious and visual beliefs grounded in customs and cultures that are vitiated by prejudice. Informed by an open-ended and cynical universal negation, ittakes humour to the point of absurdity through its stylistic and diachronictwists. Macaronic thinkers are not revolutionaries, but are purveyors of apermanent contestation, one that goes beyond any speciﬁc political,religious or moral polemic to lay siege to the foundations of ourcomprehension and representation of the world. The Macaronic pulverisesand dissolves into nothingness any abuse of reason resulting fromfraudulent words, but at the same time constructs possibilities for dreams.
Zucca caption please