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date: 17 November 2019

Pini, Ermenegildolocked

(b Milan, 1739; d Milan, 1825).
  • Peter Boutourline Young

Extract

(b Milan, 1739; d Milan, 1825).

Italian scientist, philosopher, writer and architect. His early education took place in Milan, Monza, Rome and Naples between 1756 and 1765. Having joined the Barnabite order in 1756, he became a member of the regular clergy of S Paolo, Milan. In 1766 he was appointed professor-in-ordinary of mathematics at the Università di S Alessandro in Milan, where he also taught chemistry, mineralogy and canon law, and in 1772 he became professor of natural history. While best known for his work in geology and natural history, he is also remembered for his treatise Dell’architettura: Dialoghi (1770), which includes all the plans of the church of S Giuseppe at Seregno. Pini himself designed the Neo-classical interior of the church, which was completed by Giulio Galliori (1715–95). The treatise is arranged in the form of two Socratic dialogues by mathematics students in Milan and Longone. The first deals with the dome and the centrally planned church. The students exchange opinions on the mathematical calculation of domes, arches and vaults; Francesco Borromini is praised for his great technical ability, while his successors, in particular the French, are condemned for being responsible for ‘depraving the good taste of architecture’. The students conclude that intrinsic beauty is to be found in simple geometric shapes and that architecture can derive examples from the classical repertory. The second dialogue deals with fortifications and is of considerable importance for the study of the engineer ...

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U. Thieme and F. Becker, eds: Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart, 37 vols (Leipzig, 1907–50) [see also Meissner above]