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I Tatti Exchange: Anatole Tchikine

Posted On March 19, 2015 | 16:12 pm | by lainw | Permalink

In December 2015, Anatole Tchikine, Post-Doctoral Fellow in Garden and Landscape Studies, spent a week at Villa I Tatti as part of Dumbarton Oaks’ staff exchange program with its sister institution in Florence. Tchikine’s project was to investigate the cultural, archaeological, and topographical contexts of a rare manuscript in the Dumbarton Oaks collection, entitled Descrizione della Villa Pliniana. The manuscript—authored by Francesco Ignazio Lazzari (1633–1717), a playwright, historian, and architect from Città di Castello—is an early attempt to determine the location and reconstruct the appearance of the Umbrian villa of the Roman writer and statesman Pliny the Younger, which Pliny described in one of his letters. Lazzari’s manuscript offers a remarkable reading of Pliny’s text through local topography, archeological findings, and seventeenth-century garden design and villa architecture; it also includes interesting pen-and-ink drawings that represent elevations, and one plan, of several Baroque villas in the area of Città di Castello. An annotated edition of this work—which is to include a transcription of the original text, an English translation, and an introduction by the distinguished architectural historian Pierre du Prey—is planned to be published by Dumbarton Oaks in the Ex horto series of classic and rare texts on garden history and on the philosophy, art, and techniques of landscape architecture.