FIRST EDITION IN A MODERN LANGUAGE AND ONE OF THE FINEST ILLUSTRATED BOOKS OF THE ITALIAN RENAISSANCE.
De Architectura “is the only Roman work inspired by Greek architecture that has come down to us. It is therefore important as our prime source of many lost Greek writings on the subject and as a guide to archaeological research in Italy and Greece. By exemplifying the principles of classical architecture it became the fundamental architectural textbook for centuries…
“The ten books of ‘On Architecture’ deal with principles of building in general, building materials, designs of theatres, temples and other public buildings, town and country houses, baths, interior decoration and wall paintings, clocks and dials, astronomy, mechanical and military engineering. There are many ingenious devices for dealing with the echo in theatres and ideas on acoustic principles generally; on methods of sanitation—Vitruvius is believed to have been responsible for the new plumbing system introduced when Augustus rebuilt Rome; on correct proportions, proper location of buildings, town planning and much on ballistic and hydraulic problems. The classical tradition of building, with its regular proportions and symmetry and the three orders—Doric, Ionic and Corinthian—derives from this book. In recent times Vitruvius’s considerable importance in the history of science has also been recognized, as he had made some valuable contributions to astronomy, geometry and engineering…
“It was with the Renaissance that his influence began. Alberti, Bramante, Ghiberti, Michelangelo, Vignola, Palladio and many others were directly inspired by Vitruvius. The first printed edition appeared in Rome (c1483-90)… The Como edition of 1521 is the first in Italian—by Cesare Cesariano, a pupil of Bramante. It has splendid new illustrations, some of which are now attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, and is the most beautiful of all the early editions” (Printing and the Mind of Man, 26).
One of the masterpieces of Renaissance book illustration: Superbly illustrated with 117 woodcuts (10 full page), including three full-page plans of the Milan Cathedral, believed to be the first illustrations of gothic architecture in a classical text, and the extraordinary diagrams representing ideal human proportions, diagrams that would later become known as representations of the now famous “Vitruvian man”.
Como: Gottardo de Ponte, 1521. Folio, nineteenth century full vellum. With the corrected “tutta” reading on errata leaf. Very minor occasional soiling; a few early repairs to spine. A superb copy with extremely large margins. RARE.
Price: $75,000 .