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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton March 17, 2011

The laboring birth of doors

  • Ruggero Pierantoni EMAIL logo
From the journal Semiotica


Doors play a complex role in architecture. The very word, at least in Italian and French, illuminates the marking of the deliberate interruption of the act of foundation during the ceremony of the wall's enceinte tracing. The word porta indicates the action of portare. During the tracing of the furrow into the ground, the blade is lifted out of the ground in order to mark the place of the future entrance (or exit) to the city. Another significant role is the marking of the “exit” from this world and it is loaded with intense significance in funereal architecture. But if we look at the semantic “Mirror, mirror on the wall,” it will be easy to discover the other, complementary, and necessary role of the porta. The reading of Aristophanes' Lysistrata shows the explicit “hidden” metaphor of the door, which has been very well christened as the “Origin of the World” in the famous Courbet painting.

Published Online: 2011-03-17
Published in Print: 2011-February

© 2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/New York

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