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.)
Medium: Pen and dark brown ink
Dimensions: Sheet: 6 1/8 x 10 1/2 in. (15.5 x 26.6 cm)
Classifications: Manuscripts, Drawings, Ornament & Architecture
Credit Line: Purchase, Bequest of W. Gedney Beatty, by exchange, 2008
Accession Number: 2008.105.2
A recent discovery, this sheet and seven others 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 text at the upper left describes the temple in antis (in which the side walls protrude to flank the columns on the porch in front) and refers to the Temple of the Three Fortunes near the Colline Gate in Rome. The text at the bottom describes prostyle temples (buildings with a row of columns, or portico, at the front only) and considers the Temples of Jove and Faunus on the Isola Tiberina. The Temple of Faunus is illustrated at the left in plan and at the center right in a perspectival three-quarter view. The cityscape portrays the Isola Tiberina.
The author of this manuscript was Florentine, given his style of orthography, and he wrote in a rapid cursive script (alla mercantesca) datable to the 1530s or 1540s. The drawings are stylistically related to those by Bastiano Aristotile da Sangallo in the marginalia of a 1486 edition of Vitruvius that was reworked in the 1530s. The Sangallo family had been deeply interested in Vitruvius's treatise for two generations.