Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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Recto: "Libro Primo, Chapo Quarto..." (Vitruvius, Book 1, Chapter 4); Verso: The Fortification of City Walls (Vitruvius, Book 1, Chapter 5).

Artist:
Attributed to a member of the Sangallo family (Florence, ca. 1530–1545)
Author:
Original Treatise Written by Marcus Pollio Vitruvius (Roman, active late 1st century B.C.)
Date:
1530–45
Medium:
Pen and dark brown ink
Dimensions:
sheet: 5 5/8 x 11 1/16 in. (14.3 x 28.1 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Bequest of W. Gedney Beatty, by exchange, 2008
Accession Number:
2008.105.1
Not on view
The creator of this drawing was an experienced draftsman of military technology and architecture, as is evident by his use of perspective and in the level of surface detail with which he elaborated the forms presented here. This proficiency is clear when compared to illustrations of military fortifications in early printed editions of Vitruvius (see the edition of 1524 by Durantino).The fortification of cities and ports was a specialty of the Sangallo family and of Antonio da Sangallo "The Younger" in particular, as he worked as a military engineer in the papal court in Rome. A prolific architect and draftsman, Antonio "The Younger" owned, among others, a pocket-sized, printed Latin edition of Vitruvius, which he annotated with drawings and text. It is today part of the Metropolitan Museum's vast collection of early Vitruvius editions. His younger brother and much-overshadowed amanuensis for many of his military drawings, Giovanni Battista da Sangallo "Il Gobbo," left an insightful book of commentary on Vitruvius, which, according to a 1568 biography by Giorgio Vasari, "never saw the light of publication."

A recent discovery, this sheet and seven others (acc. nos. 2008.105.1-8) comprised a manuscript draft for an Italian edition of the sole surviving architectural treatise of Roman antiquity, Ten Books on Architecture by Marcus Pollius Vitruvius (late first century B.C.). Had the project been completed, it would have ranked among the brilliantly imaginative works of Renaissance interpretive architectural theory. The drawings also exhibit a beautifully expressive handling of the pen. Comparisons of style as well as of the shorthand notation in the sketching of human figures suggest a close kinship with drawings by Bastiano "Aristotile" da Sangallo (Florence, 1481 – Florence 1551) and the collaborators that helped him draw and write the motifs of marginalia in a printed 1486 edition of Vitruvius (Biblioteca Corsiniana, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rome) that was reworked in the 1530s. By all accounts a virtuoso stage set designer, Bastiano da Sangallo-the cousin and closest collaborator of Antonio da Sangallo "The Younger" and Giovanni Battista da Sangallo "Il Gobbo"-was Michelangelo's assistant in the Sistine Chapel and took the surname of "Aristotile" for his love of antiquity. Members of the Sangallo family had been deeply interested in Vitruvius for at least two generations.
Text and Drawings for an Italian Edition of Vitruvius's Ten Books on Architecture.

Inscription: Recto, from Vitruvius, Book I, chap. 4, no. 1: "… ALLA . SALVTE . DELVMI. / ALLO . PRIMO . LIBRO . CHAPO . QUARTO ./ Ma . al situare li mura quisti sarano li prencipjj . Primieramente la elesione del sito e luogo sano e quisti/ sara i luogo alquanto alto : e esendo in piano : no sia dalle nebie . discontinouo . molestato : ni luno …/ ltro sitto dichontinouo prauinoso et che guardino li parti del Cielo non chalidi ne' freddi anzitu[tto]/ inparare sensa che tu schifai la vicinitade delli paludi . Péro ché le auri matutine quando/ chol sole nascerano : odaloriente preuerano alla citta echon quelli le nasciute nebule si agirano [?] / girano et i uenti . spargendole . Nei chorpi delli abbitantj . li spiriti . Auilinatj dalle Bestie palustra/ni scholati con la nebula farano iluogo pestifero : Similmente si appresso il mare . si farano / le città e si guarderano : al mezo di o alo O[c]cidente non sarano sani : Péro che il cielo Meridia/no nella state . inalzandosi il sole si schalda : per infino : che giongiù altro picho dechantrico . E nel le mure dil Sole maggiormente se intepidiscie e nel mezzo di si schalda e nel visparo Bo rle/ per le mutationij adungiù del chaldo e del friddo i chorpi iquali son[n]o insa luogi abitantj / si vitiarano . Et questo e anchora buono auertire . che inqueli luogi : doue no sono anjmali pe/stiferi : e che il bestiame sta sano . Sia buono sito a edifichareij . In pero che nelle chantine . / doue si tiene il uino : no si pigli di dargli ilune dal Mezo di . Nedal ponente . Ma si bene dal se/ptentrione . per chausa che questa rigione da uicino tempo riceui mutationj . Ma sta fermino/ in per petuo et in mutabile . e sarà . E pero i granarj li quali guardano al chorso del sole / e cioè . dal liuante . è a mezo . di . e aponente . e a cioro . mutano la lora bontà e si tarlano / A presso . tute le abri iadunj . e ponj : e altre chose . aluso de uitto umano che no anno il/ lumi aquesta regione Septentrionale : quale . è chaua…

(C. C. Bambach; May 2008)
Mallams Fine Art Auctioneers, Oxford, sale June 8, 2007, lot 143; Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel, Munich; Vendor: Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel, Munich
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," July 14, 2008–October 19, 2008.

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