Visiting Scholar Laurent Baridon presents his research.
The story of Dinocrates, as recounted by Vitruvius, describes the encounter between this architect and Alexander the Great, his renowned patron. Through the multiple distortions it underwent, the dissemination of this narrative in the theory of architecture, has acquired the status of myth. Considered as such, it presents a polysemic narrative through which the spectrum of meaning reveals the outline of the figure of the architect while broaching questions concerning his relationship to the patron, power, nature, and the mechanical or liberal arts. The myth makes explicit, therefore, the conditions and ambitions of a new professional status at the moment of its emergence in the Renaissance. The texts as well as the images participate in this intellectual construction, for at the same time, the first portraits of this new figure appear. The long genealogy of these representations, be they true of false self-portraits, resonate the myth of Dinocrates in evoking the political prerogatives and social responsibility of the architect: moreover, they incarnate them. One of the essential characteristics of the definition of this new figure resides in effect, in his wish to generate a perfect society.
Laurent Baridon received a Ph.D. in art history from the Université Marc-Bloch in Strasbourg, France. His doctoral dissertation “L’imaginaire scientifique de Viollet-le-Duc, genèse d’une pensée architectural” was completed in 1992. The scope of his research covers the history of ideas of art and artists, western architecture from the 18th to the 20th century and the representation of the human body in the 19th century. He is the co-author with Martial Guédron of Corps et arts: physionomies et physiologies dans les arts visuels (Paris; Montréal: L’Harmattan, 1999).
Laurent Baridon was a Visiting Scholar at the CCA in 2002-2003.
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