Author: Sebastiano Serlio (Italian, 1475–1554)
Venice: Francesco de' Franceschi, 1584
Woodcut illustration with letterpress text
Overall: 9 3/4 x 7 3/16 x 2 9/16 in. (24.8 x 18.2 x 6.5 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1924 (188.8.131.52)
Serlio's Libro estraordinario, the sixth book in this first edition of his complete works, deals with the design of gateways. His model for a dramatic rustic gate is quite unusual in that it breaks all the rules of classical architecture, including the order of columns and principles of decoration. Inspired by the often eccentric designs of contemporary Mannerist architecture, Serlio combined rough elements with the more traditional treatment of the Doric order to stress the difference between nature and artifice. Entirely appropriate to the entry of a villa-park, his gate is designed in a heavy rustic manner with a touch of brutishness, which Serlio called bestiale, underlined by the bulls' heads set in the cornerstones of the archway.