Synopses & Reviews
Sebastiano Serlio (1475-1554) was the most important architectural writer and theorist of the sixteenth century; despite this, his writings have been virtually inaccessible until now. This translation of Serlio's five-volume treatise--he died before publishing two further volumes--replaces the only other English version, one that was produced in 1611 from an inaccurate Dutch translation of the Italian original. Vaughan Hart and Peter Hicks, working directly from Serlio's own corrected editions, here provide new access to his highly influential treatise. Serlio introduced northern Europe to the principles of classical design. When Christopher Wren was building St. Paul's Cathedral and when John Wood designed the streets of Bath, for example, both architects had Serlio's books on hand.
Serlio begins with the rules of geometry and perspective, and continues with a description of the ornamental splendor of the baths, temples, arches, and palaces of ancient Rome. He includes advice on how to incorporate classical features into interior designs. In an innovative discussion of Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns, to which he added Composite, Serlio established a canon of Five Orders that held authority for over a century. He illustrates the use of these orders in twelve temple designs.
Serlio's attempt to codify the rules of a design language that utilized tradition while facilitating invention mirrors similar efforts by architects in the twentieth century to establish an architectural order through rules governing proportion and form.
Serlio's beautiful woodcut illustrations are reproduced in this edition, which also includes a thorough introduction, commentary, and glossary of terms.
Sebastiano Serlio introduced the principles of classical design to northern Europe and was the most important architectural writer and theorist of the sixteenth century. However, his writings have been inaccessible to English language readers until now. This distinguished translation of Serlio's treatise, complete with his beautiful woodcut illustrations, replaces the only other English version--an inaccurate translation from Dutch produced in 1611.
Few Renaissance theorists have influenced the development of western architecture as much as Sebastiano Serlio (1475-1554). The collection of books which represents his lifetime's work was to become invaluable to the majority of northern European architects who, never having seen Rome, none the less marvelled at Italian antiquities. Hence when Christopher Wren designed St. Paul's cathedral, and when John Wood designed the streets of Bath, both architects had Serlio's books to hand. On his death Serlio had published the first five volumes of the planned seven-book treatise, and had witnessed their enormous popularity, especially amongst the many patrons and architects eager to emulate the splendours of antiquity and of Italian courts which sought her renaissance. Serlio's treatise begins with the rules of geometry and perspective, described in books one and two respectively, knowledge of which formed the traditional preserve of the painter. Serlio's beautiful woodcut illustrations in book three record the Golden Age of the Roman Empire, her Baths, Temples, Palaces and Arches, whilst his text in book four outlines the rules for designing modern elements ranging from fireplaces to facades based on these monuments. To the Tuscan, Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns which had been discussed by the Roman author Vitruvius and the great quattrocento philosopher-architect Leon Battista Alberti, Serlio added the Composite and thereby established a canon of five Orders which held authority for over a century. The fifth book illustrates the use of these Orders in twelve temple designs of his own invention. This translation of Serlio's first five books by Vaughan Hart and Peter Hicks replaces theonly other English version, that produced in 1611 by Robert Peake, whose source was not the original Italian but a corrupt Dutch translation. As such this is the first English translation of Serlio's work to be based on his own editions and the first collection in any language of all five books taken from Serlio's corrected originals. It represents a major step in the recognition of Sebastiano Serlio as the most important architectural writer of the sixteenth century.