L’idea della architettura universale […] divisa in X. libri

Autore: SCAMOZZI, Vincenzo (1548–1616)

Tipografo: a spese dell'autore (colophon: Giorgio Valentino).

Dati tipografici: Venezia,   1615

Formato: in folio


Two parts in one volume, folio (335x220 mm). Part 1 (Dell'eccellenza di questa facoltà, degl'architetti prestanti: e precetti, inventioni, disegni, modelli, & opere meravigliose. Le qualita de' paesi, e siti; le forme delle città, e fortezze reali; e di tutti i generi d'edifici sacri, publici, e privati: antichi, e proprij dell'autore. Con i loro disegni): [18, including the engraved title, the letter-press title, and the leaf with the printer's note and the register], 1-90, [2 blank], [91-95], 96-193, [2], 194-218, [4], 219-352 [i.e. 356], [2 blank], [32, of which the last is a blank] pageswith 36 full- or double-page woodcut illustrations and 4 double-page engraved plates in text (pp. 125-128 are repeated in numbering, the double-page plate at pp. 193-194 is not numbered). Collation: a6 [χ]1 [π]2 A-G6 H42a22[χ]1 I-K6 L-M2 N-R6 S4 T-X2 Y83a2 Z6 Aa-Ii6Kk-Ll4, 4a-b6 c4. Leaves H4 e Ll4 are blank; Parte 2 (Dell'esquisitezza de' cinque ordini, e de loro colonnati, archi, modonature più regolate, e delle materie conveneuoli all'edificare. Poi del fondare, elevare finire, e ristaurare bene le fabriche; redurre in miglior stato le città, e paesi; e costruere le machine e stromenti. Con i disegni in rame): [12, including the engraved title and the letter-press title], 1-172, [4], 173-279 [i.e. 269], [5, of which the first is a blank], 271-370 [i.e. 372], [20] pages with 6 woodcut illustrations and 40 engraved plates in text (1 double-page, the extant full-page) (pp. 233-234 are omitted in pagination, pp. 267-269 are wrongly numbered 277-279). Collation: *6 A-B6 C4 D2 E-O6 P8 a2 Q-Z6[χ]2 Aa-Gg6 Hh-Ii4 *6 **4. COMPLETE. Text revised by Antonio Ramiro, as stated in the colophon. The two beautifully engraved title pages include a portrait of the author, while each of the six letter-press titles (part 1:books 1-3; part 2: books 6-8) bear the woodcut emblem of the author. Woodcut initials and headpieces. Early 19th-century half vellum, morocco lettering piece on spine. On the front pastedown engraved bookplate of the brothers Francesco and Alessandro Papafava. A religious coat-of-arms, showing three mountains with on top a Latin cross and the initials “PLT”, is drawn on the bottom margin of the title page. Small wormholes to the lower inner margin of the first two leaves not affecting the text, some occasional foxing and browning, light damp stain in the outer margin towards the end of the volume, all in all a very good copy.

FIRST EDITION of the most influential Italian architectural treatise of the seventeenth century. Of the ten books envisaged in the original plan, the author before dying managed to complete only six: the first three, which form the first part, the sixth, the seventh and the eighth, which form the second. The first part is dedicated by the author to Archduke Maximilian of Austria, the second to Cosimo II de' Medici.

Deeply influenced by Andrea Palladio, with whose work he was constantly confronted, Scamozzi succeeded in his treatise to codify, in a rigorous and definitive way, the doctrine of the five architectural orders, which represents the most original contribution of the Italian Renaissance architecture.

The book deals with urban planning, the design of the ideal city, domestic architecture, gardens, fountains, building materials and techniques. The five orders are explained in detailsinbook 6 which, translated into various languages and also published separately, became one of the most influential architectural manuals of the century, having great diffusion especially in Northern Europe.

“Scamozzi, along with Sebastiano Serlio, Palladio, and Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola was the most distinguished theorist of the Renaissance; like them he belongs to the artistic culture of northern Italy. […] The last, the longest, and the most ambitious of the Renaissance treatises on architecture, the Idea constitutes a summa of Renaissance thought” (The Mark J. Millard architectural collection, Italian and Spanish books, M. Pollak, ed., Washington, 2000, pp. 384-390).

Born in Vicenza, where he received his first education from his father Giandomenico, a real estate entrepreneur linked to Sebastiano Serlio, in 1572 Vincenzo Scamozzi moved to Venice, where he became familiar with the treatises of Vitruvius and Palladio. Upon his return to Vicenza, he built several private buildings, including the famous Villa Pisani in Lonigo. After Palladio's death (1580), he completed some of his unfinished works, among them the Teatro Olimpico, of which he built the wooden perspective scene.

After 1580 he worked again in Venice, designing the Statuario, the first public museum in Europe, and the Procuratie Nuove in St. Mark's Square. He then also worked in Castelfranco Veneto, Bergamo, Palmanova, and Sabbioneta, where he built the local theatre.

Scamozzi was an architect of considerable erudition. He developed Palladio's lesson, creating a personal style of great formal rigor. He died in Venice on 7th August 1616.

Fowler, 292; Cicognara, 651; Vinciana, 651; Berlin Katalog, 2605; Riccardi, suppl. V, 150; Schlosser, pp. 415-417; The Mark J. Millard architectural collection, no. 123.