Letter from the Editor
Like that of Palladio in the sixteenth century, the work of Guarino Guarini (1624–1683) in the seventeenth century, both written and constructed, embodies the nexus of architecture and mathematics better than that of anyone else in the Baroque age. Guarini was both a methematician and an architect, but he was also well versed in their sister arts, including philosophy, stereotomy, geodesy, gnomonics, astronomy and more. Guarini is as rich as he is illusive: he left behind a corpus of ponderous works written in Latin, almost unstudied today, and of his many buildings, only a handful survive, the others victims of disasters both natural (S. Maria Annunziata in Messina destroyed by an earthquake) and manmade (the Chapel of the Holy Shroud destroyed by fire following restoration in 1997). But the fire that destroyed the Chapel of the Holy Shroud offered a unique opportunity to study how Guarini conceived and constructed his masterpieces. This argument was first addressed in these pages in an interview with Mirella Macera (Superintendent for architectural, landscapes, and historical monuments of Piedmont), Fernando Delmastro and Paolo Napoli (see NNJ vol. 6 no. 2, 2004). In 2006 a conference entitled “Guarino Guarini: Open Questions, Possible Solutions”, dedicated to the Chapel of the Holy Shroud in Turin and its designer, Guarini, was organized by myself and Franco Pastrone of the Department of Mathematics of the University of Turin, and sponsored by the Archivio di Stato and the Direzione per i beni culturali e paesaggistici del Piemonte (see the conference report by Sylvie Duvernoy in NNJ vol. 9, no. 1, 2007). The papers in this present issue of the NNJ grew out of that meeting, and will help increase our understanding of Guarini, his scientific and architectural works, and the seventeenth-century context in which he worked.