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Re: VMs: St. Vitus Cathedral

Hello Nick,
Very interesting. Thank you for the references to Filaretian architecture. It appears then that the design for the spire on St. Vitus Cathedral may have originated in or around Milan.
Dana Scott
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, November 30, 2003 5:37 AM
Subject: Re: VMs: St. Vitus Cathedral

Hi Dana,

At 23:51 29/11/2003 -0700, Dana (not Captain!) Scott wrote:
>The central spire at the top of St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague certainly
>resembles the spire seen between volvelles in the VMS. I wonder when the
>construction of the cathedral spires was completed. Perhaps this has
>already been mentioned.

Architectural historians refer to this kind of multi-stage building as
"Filaretian" (or "filarateana"), after the Quattrocento architect Filarete
- his Treatise on Architecture describes the planning and building of an
ideal city called Sforzinda (the first architectural utopia) and its port
(Plusiapolis), which contains drawings of a number of similar multistage

In Milan, he is famous for his work on the Ospedale Maggiore, as well as
the Torre del Filarete, which collapsed before being rebuilt 100 years ago:-

A nice animation/video on this site from the University of Milan (broadband
users click on LAN):-

A little bit on Filarete's life:-

A picture from his Treatise:-

St Vitus' Cathedral in Prague was begun in 1344, but work on it stopped in
1421 when the Hussites took over the castle: though the west front was
added in the 1920s, my guess is you're describing the "Great Tower" on the
south side, which seems to have had the octagonal extensions added much
closer to 1541 (when there was a major fire there):-

If I've got all that right, it would seem most likely that St Vitus'
Cathedral's Great Tower was designed circa 1490, and built over the next
20-30 years.

IIRC one copy of Filarete's Treatise made its way to the court of Matthias
Corvinus, and there was an architectural link between the Treatise and the
University there: so there's every reason to suppose that Filaretean ideas
were indeed circulating around the courts of Europe 1470-1520.

Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....

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