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Serlio's "Eighth Book of Architecture"

World Digital Library,


Sebastiano Serlio (1475‒1554) was born in Bologna and trained as a painter and architect in Rome and Venice. From 1541 he worked in France, at Fontainebleau and Lyons. Serlio’s enduring importance lies in his theoretical writings on architecture, which represent an important source for Italian and French Renaissance architecture. Most of his planned eight Libri de architettura (Books of architecture) appeared in print during his lifetime. Two manuscripts remained unpublished, however, and as early as 1571 entered the newly founded library of Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria. Not until 1966 was one of them, the Sesto libro (Sixth book; Bavarian State Library, Cod. icon. 189) published in facsimile. The other codex, shown here, contains Serlio’s sketches for his Ottavo libro (Eighth book), on the construction of fortifications, which derives from the description of a Roman camp in the universal history of the Greek historian Polybius. Most important is its inclusion of “Della castramentatione di Polibio ridutta in una citadella murata” (The reconstruction of a Roman military camp described by Polybius as a walled citadel,  folio 1), the plan of which, taken from a military settlement surveyed in “Datia,” (the Roman province of Dacia) had been procured for him by Marino Grimani, patriarch of Aquileia. Serlio sketched for it detailed plans and elevations of individual buildings, in accordance with his conceptions of classical architecture.
Note: BSB shelfmark: Cod.icon. 190 | This description of the work was written by Ulrich Montag of the Bavarian State Library.
Place: Europe; Italy
Institution: Bavarian State Library
Physical description: 45 folios : parchment and paper, illustrated ; 44.8-75.7 x 27.5-31.8 centimeters (parchment), 17.8-46 x 22-31.7 centimeters (paper)