Sunday, May 13, 2012

accidental misprision

After weeks of staring at our structural steel and drywall, it occurred to me that I’ve seen this relationship between gray structure and smooth, light walls before.

Michelangelo’s magnificent vestibule at the Laurentian library – one of the most amazing rooms in the world – is one of a number of spaces in Florence where dark pietra serena stone is carved into the Classical orders, in contrast to the creamy plaster of the surrounding wall surfaces.
Of course, our kitchen is not the Vestibolo della Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, and we are not Michelangelo (nor his great influence, Brunelleschi). The vestibule is remarkable because it is so useless. Ostensibly a room for a stair leading from the church’s courtyard to its library (where scholars under the patronage of the Medici established the intellectual basis for the Renaissance), the vestibule is an essay in ironic inversions (where Michelangelo undermines our expectations of the Classical orders) and Neoplatonic philosophy (in which he gives physical form to the notion of an immortal soul trapped in a mortal body, struggling to free itself). Our kitchen, on the other hand, is a place to prepare meals and host parties.

For more on the concept of poetic misprision, check out something I wrote earlier.

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