Cornell University Eidlitz Travel Fellowship (2019)
Piazza del Gesu, looking toward San Andrea della Valle
Proposal: to document the sites and sequences of space of the Biblioteca Valicceliana, Biblioteca Casanatense, and Biblioteca Angelica
Eidlitz Travel Fellowship ︎︎︎
Unlike those in the rural monasteries that command distant landscapes, these three Baroque Libraries in Rome are hidden in the network of ancient city streets. The journey into the reading room becomes intertwined with urban wandering; the boundary between the library complex and the city becomes blurred.
This is a small selection of the photographs taken while wandering the Roman streetscape.
Each place has its own unique light. It is a mixture of the atmosphere, the texture, the angle of the sun. In Rome, the light is special. Perhaps it is the abundance of travertine, warm Roman marble, that paves the facades. Perhaps it is the narrow network of streets that reflect off each other, creating a glowing effect. Perhaps it is simply the aura imbued in such an eternal city.
The Biblioteca Vallicelliana is located behind Borromini’s beautiful, sculpted facade of the Oratorio del Philipini. With a shallow depth to work with, Borromini was able to create a dynamic sense of movement on the exterior face. Once proceeding around the courtyard, up the switchback stairs, and through the stone portal, the visitor enters the Borromini Salon with its dramatic and muscular ceiling composition. See more ︎︎︎
The Biblioteca Angelica is an uplifting, vertically proportioned space. The long spanning arches make the ceiling feel light and effortless. The tall window at the center further emphasizes the height of the room. The bookcases weave around the pilasters like wall paper, accentuating the structural supports from the arch bases down to the floor. The balcony railings are a thin wire composition, leaving the books beyond visible.