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17 Michelangelo’s Marble Blog: Epigraphic Walls as Pictures and Samples of Language

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Chapter Summary

Rome's great epigraphic walls are no longer highlighted in the guidebooks, the long hallway of niches of the Vatican Lapidaria, the letters rubbed with red in the Sistine Rooms, the plaques in the Capitoline, the portico of Santa Maria in Trastevere, San Paolo fuori le Mura. The installation of the fasti within the Capitoline Museums is not notably significant in Michelangelo's career, but it was probably decisive for setting the vogue for epigraphic walls throughout Europe. There may have been earlier epigraphic walls in Brescia, or Pisa, or Spoleto, but Michelangelo's installation at the Capitoline was the most prominent one. The other practice that illustrates the quotational structure of epigraphic walls is the use of language in contemporary art. Epigraphic walls are "The peoples fable, and the spoyle of all. Epigraphic walls are where the archivist, inscription, and audiences meet, and define where we really live.

Keywords: Capitoline; fasti; Michelangelo's marble blog; picture language; Rome's epigraphic walls



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