The 1540s: a turning point in the development of European architecture: Howard Burns
The topic of the colloquium was well chosen: the 1540s, in European culture, and specifically in art and architecture, was a decade of great importance, of change and transition1. The fruits of earlier researches and achievements, were now publicised, codified and implemented, thanks to constant travel and networking, and greater peace security and confidence, at least in most of Italy. And perhaps above all as the result of the development of the book industry. Venice remained the most important centre for the publication of illustrated works and of literary and scholarly books of high quality, followed by Lyon, Paris, and at a certain distance, by Basel. These four centres probably accounted for at least 80 % of the total production of high quality texts. Florence, Rome, Strasbourg, Nuremberg, Antwerp, were also producing substantial numbers of fine scholarly and literary works.
New architectural books were published and old ones issued in new editions or translated from Latin into French and Italian, or from Italian into French. Vitruvius appeared in German, Serlio was translated into French but also, in 1539 into Flemish a mere two years after the first Italian ← 11 | 12 → edition2. Even in distant England, where Holbein was court painter from 1532 till his death in 1543, there appeared in 1549 William Thomas’s Historie of Italie, containing information on leading Italian cities and a lengthy description of Rome3. The decade however was not just a period of consolidation and diffusion of what the great...
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