ABSTRACT

In the mid-1750s the Roman architect Carlo Marchionni produced a small group of highly finished drawings for the villa of Cardinal Alessandro Albani, an estate situated just outside Rome’s Aurelian walls along the ancient Via Salaria. This corpus includes drawings of the garden, with its fountains and garden buildings, and interior elevations of the villa’s reception rooms in the main casino (Plates 2, 3, 5 and 7). With these interior renderings Marchionni invented a new type of architectural drawing that foregrounds the role of the body and requires a new way of looking from audiences accustomed to standard academic draftsmanship of the time. Using quick strokes of pen, brush, and wash, Marchionni wrought figures whose gestures, movements, and accouterments evoke civil discourse and activate social space. As chief architect on the building project, which was initiated in the 1740s and completed in the 1760s, Marchionni prepared these drawings for his patron, the noted antiquarian and sometime diplomat Alessandro Albani. 1