Number as order, the language of nature, its elegance, to use the words of EinsteinRead more
“Take away number in all things and all things perish” wrote Isidore of Seville at the end of the sixth century, laying the foundations for that “intoxication of numbers” which permeated the romantic age: the spasmodic quest, especially in figurative art, for a numerical order, the very imprint in the sensitive world of the Great Maker’s creative hand, according to the intuitions of Pythagoras.Number as order, the language of nature, its elegance, to use the words of Einstein. The “capital role of numbers in reducing the diversity of the Universe to a unit” said modern iconologist Jean Seznec, who observed how this “mathématique sacrée”, built on the foundations laid down by Pythagoras, played a fundamental role in the Middle Ages in recovering ancient classicism, and is indispensable in understanding the significance of the Renaissance, thanks its integration of ancient mythology and the scholastic system of knowledge.The iconographic readings of this book, in twelve chapters, cover a broad chronological spectrum; a homogeneous whole including classic and late classic culture, pagan and Christian, crossing through the crucial Middle Ages and reaching the Renaissance and its heritage. Each one is devoted to an essential and exemplified selection of artworks (painting, sculpture, graphics) which have a numerical imprint in common, like the revelation of a special immanent and/or transcendent symbolic order. Stopping at the threshold of “aesthetic” evidence, without crossing into the territory of more or less esoteric iconological and numerological interpretation, these readings focus on the level of iconographic description and recognition, highlighting, nonetheless, cross references and transversal links between the various chapters. The outcome can therefore have an “educational” value, anchored as it is in the very foundations of iconography, where numbers play a crucial role drawing together and ordering the most varied and articulated allegories around them; being ordered and empowered by numbers they acquire and reveal new, far-reaching meanings. Fernando Rigon, was director of the Museo Biblioteca Archivio in Bassano del Grappa from 1976 to 1983; director of the Vicenza Museum and Civic monuments section from 1983 to 1991. he has carried out selections for about fifteen new exhibitions in art and history museums and organised about forty exhibitions, also editing the catalogues.Among his one hundred and fifty publications are the monographic volumes: Andrea Palladio (1980); Pittori vicentini minori del ’700 (1981); Gli animali di Jacopo Bassano (1983); Arte di terra vicentina (1983); Il Teatro Olimpico di Vicenza (1988); and Le tre Grazie (1998). The volume is available at the bookstore in via Torino 61, Milan and from September 20 2006 in all Italian bookshops.