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At a time when the illustration of printed architecture books was still in an early stage of development, Sebastiano Serlio started work on a series of books in which the illustrations would be just as important as the text. The fact that he conceived his books as forming a series all together is clear from the fact that he gave his publications a numerical order, which differs from the order in which they were published. The first book to be published in 1537, the General Rules of Architecture, was conceived as the fourth part within the series. In this book, Serlio describes the five different architectural orders in which to build (Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite) and explains which types of materials and ornaments can be used within each order. The last pages of the book are devoted to other elements which an architect should take into account when designing a house: ceilings, gardens and coats arms. On these two relating pages he presents four different designs for wooden ceilings: on the left side he shows the layout of the wooden structure, and on the right he shows a close-up detail of the same ceiling with painted decorations.
BAL, IV, 1797-1800, #2966 and 1802, #1; Brunet, V, 304; Casali, 47-54, #25; Charvet, 97, #1; Cicognara, I, 662; Fowler, 253, #313; Mortimer, 651-3, #471; SKB, 2555
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