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Pompeo Schiantarelli (1746-1802/5)
As far as I can determine, Pompeo Schiantarelli, was from Rome. There is an extant architectural sketch of his as part of a competition at the prestigious Accademia di San Luca Archivio Storico, an art academy that still exists. The sketch is from 1766; thus, we may conclude that he was a student there. (A reference may be found in I Disegni di Architettura dell'Archivio Storico dell’ Accademia di San Luca by P. Marconi, A. Cipriani and E. Valeriani. Rome, 1974.)
An engraved plate from the Istoria.
Most interesting in this prolific career is an episode only tangentially connected to architecture, having more to do with geology. The great Lisbon earthquake of 1755 produced the first example in Europe of technical diagrammatic illustrations of the effects of such a disaster (by British natural philosopher John Michell and the Dutchman Johan Drijfhout). When southern Italy’s turn came in 1783—a series of calamitous quakes that killed 35,000 persons and devastated much of Calabria—the Neapolitan Academy of Science and Letters sent a team to record the devastation. Destruction of man-made structures as well as topographical changes to the environment were recorded on the scene with the aim of providing accurate and comprehensive visual documentation. Pompeo Schiantarelli led the team, and his 68 sketches (the engraving for printing the plates was done by Ignazio Stile) with fold-out plates and maps recorded in Istoria de' fenomeni del tremoto avvenuto nelle Calabrie e nel Valdemone nell'anno 1783 [Account of the Effects of the Earthquake in Calabria in 1783] (pub. Naples, 1784) are early examples of a pragmatic blend of art and scientific observation. At least two Calabrian towns, Polistena and Mileto, destroyed by the earthquake were rebuilt to plans laid out by Schiantarelli. (The plates and text of the earthquake account are widely cited and have been reprinted. They are thoroughly discussed in “Sections and Views: Visual Representation in Eighteenth-Century Earthquake Studies” by Susanne B. Keller in The British Journal for the History of Science, Vol. 31, No. 2 (June, 1998), Cambridge University Press.) I think there is only one book about Schiantarelli: Pompeo Schiantarelli. Ricerca ed architettura nel secondo settecento napoletano [Research and Architecture in Naples in the late 18th Century], by Francesco Divenuto (pub. Edizione Scientifiche Italiane, 1984).
[Also see this entry on the rebuilding of Calabria in the wake of the earthquakes.]
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