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Readings in Italian Mannerism II



Edited By Liana De Girolami Cheney

This collection celebrates the 450th year anniversary of the publication of Giorgio Vasari’s Vite (The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects [Florence: Giunti, 1568]), in which, in the prolegomenon, architects were highly praised along with the principles and technology of architecture. To honor this significant event, the selected articles in this book contain some published excerpts, some revised and expanded, some never published. These articles demonstrate the extraordinary influence of the classical tradition in Renaissance and Mannerist architecture and its role in the education of architectural students. In particular, these essays discuss the materials employed and their functions as well as the architect’s role in society. These articles also address the impact of Mannerist architecture and art theory in sixteenth-century European architecture and culture.

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A. The Education of the Architect (Vitruvius)


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Editor’s Note

Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, known as Vitruvius (active 1st century BCE) was a Roman writer, architect, and civil and military engineer. His famous treatise De architectura [On Architecture] deals with the importance of mensuration (proportions and measurements), based upon his own experience as a practicing artist and architect, and with the significance of constructing a practical city with functional buildings, beautifully designed in the Imperial Roman manner. Through his work, Vitruvius also established a theory on the principles of architecture.

In On Architecture, Vitruvius attempted to write a history of architecture emulating ancient architecture, especially Greek architecture constructed by renowned Hellenistic architects such as Hermognes of Priene (late 3rd–early 2nd century BCE). Vitruvius’s goal was to praise Roman architecture and honor himself as an architect and architectural historian. His On Architecture is composed of ten books, more like chapters, dealing with what is architecture in general; the education or training of an artist; the fundamental principles of architecture; the usage of building materials; temple construction with the application of Greek orders; the importance of measurements and proportions in architectural buildings; the function of public buildings (basilicas, theatres, and baths) as well as private buildings (homes and villas); ← 35 | 36 → and the ornamentation of floors and stucco decoration. He also explained civil and military engineering concepts—hydraulics systems; the function of clocks—and even appraised on the importance of...

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