- Book Chapter
This paper proposes a case study to test the relevance of architecture for our understanding of early modern notions of privacy.1 At the Centre for Privacy Studies, privacy is understood as shaping relationships on different levels, from the individual body to society, entities each with their own spatial presence and relationships. To what extent is the spatial component of privacy also a matter of architecture, understood as the intentional design of the elements that define space and materialise its limits? To approach this question I will read the Cornaro Chapel, designed by Gianlorenzo Bernini for Federico Cornaro in 1647–52, as a site where an intimate and interior experience, set in a private space, is made public for the purpose of edification and devotion. I want to reflect on the role of architecture in the process of transforming the private into a public display, by establishing its spatial conditions and making them explicit. This reading is framed by a brief foray into statements about the private and public persona in a particular and historically important treatise on religious art, the Discorso intorno alle immagine sacre e profane written by Gabriele Paleotti and first published in 1582. Paleotti attributes a public dimension to religious art, as its subject matter transcends the intentions and ambitions of the private individual. I propose to read the Cornaro Chapel as a sophisticated device that performs the negotiations between these two dimensions. By reading the Cornaro Chapel as a site of conspicuous patronage where an intimate and interior moment is put on public display, this essay hopes to offer some suggestions about how architecture negotiates between the private and public in religious art and to provide some understanding of how the spatial component of privacy can be a matter of architecture. Show more
Book titleEarly Modern Privacy. Sources and Approaches
Journal / seriesIntersections
Pages / Article No.
Organisational unit09605 - Delbeke, Maarten / Delbeke, Maarten
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