Toroazul Painting and Fine Arts |

I T A L Y |

But Descartes also brought to being the sort of analytical geometry that breaks three-dimensional space into the X-Y-and-Z coordinates and allows us to manipulate that space mathematically to make different types of calculations. In my drawing approach, I combine my understanding of objects in perspective space with a kind of Cartesian axonometry. This method allows me to view, understand, and quantify any form and its constituent parts in a clear and distinct manner. |

***Axonometry*** |

Seventeenth century philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes is famous for the maxim, "I think, therefore I am," and he is often blamed for introducing into Western thought the mind-body split or dichotomy that supposedly introduced modernity. |

I use axonometric thinking or visualization in order to make sense of complicated or even simple forms that I wish to draw on paper -- for example, the facade and dome of Saint Ivo alla Sapienza church in Rome center, illustrated above. The axonometric methodis particularly useful for drawing architectural subjects, especially in a city like classical or baroque Rome, where spaces and monuments are built on a sort of CUBIC-like matrix. |

The trick is to imagine the object, then, as though mounted on or run through by the X and Y and Z axes of space. On the left is one such axonometric approach at drawing a "lantern" on one of the bastions of Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome. What I did was, first, figure out the overall proportions of the lantern (height by width); next, I decided that I would view it from the bottom up; finally, I mentally assigned each of the figure's various sides to planes lying on the three Cartesian axes.... and constructed the image in a sort of transparent cube of spatial coordinates! |

In the sketchbook page of my Rome notebook, to the right here, I even drew axonometrically a "cut" of the bridge leading to the castle (center of the page). |

To the left is another "moment" from my sketchbook studies of the Church of Saint Ivo : the drum-like decoration with the six mounts and star of the Chigi family coat of arms, high up on the facade of the church from my ground viewpoint as I drew. Using the axonometric approach, I mentally "flew" above the form. That is, I was able to envision the figure and its curved ledge on the X-Y-and-Z axes. |

On the right is a section of the balcony in the cloister surrounding the courtyard of Saint Ivo : one may see the faint axial lines on which I "mounted" the plane of the balcony above and that below. This method makes the delineation of the angled arch easier. The trick is to, first, envision the balcony surface with its arch as one of the sides of a cubeand then to lay that cube on the tilted axis coordinates. From there, it becomes easy and pleasurable to lay in the arch as a circle (or half circle) inside the square or rectangular surface of the space mounted on the axis. |

The applications of this axonometric perspective approach are many, for example, for situating the various parts of a complex watercolor subject like that of the Temple of Mars Ultor from the Imperial Forum (above) or the circular interior of the 4th-century mausoleum of Santa Constanza, in pencil. |

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