Sagredo. Raison darchitecture antique (1526)

Diego de Sagredo. Raison darchitecture antique

Gordon 1526 .S27

Diego de Sagredo


(Click on the call number to view the digital facsimile of the book.)

Gordon 1526 .S27

Raison darchitecture antique, / extraicte de Victruue, et aultres anciens architecteurs, ; nouuellemēt traduit despaignol en Frācoys: a lutilite de ceulx q[ui] se delectēt en edifices.

[Paris] : Imprime par Simon de Colines demourant a Paris rue sainct Iehan de Beauuais, a lenseigne du soleil dor,

[According to Renouard's Bibl. des éd. de S. de Colines, published between 1526 and 1537.]

Sagredo. Raison darchitecture antique (1542)

Diego de Sagredo. Raison darchitecture antique

Gordon 1542 .R27

Gordon 1542 .R27

Raison darchitecture antique, / extraicte de Victruue, & aultres anciens architecteurs, ; nouuellemēt traduit despaignol en Frācoys: a lutilite de ceulx qui se delectēt en edifices.

[Paris] : Imprime par Simon de Colines demourant a Paris en la grand rue sainct Marcel, a lenseigne des quatre Euangelistes, 1542.

Diego de Sagredo’s Medidas del Romano (Toledo, 1526) was the first book on architecture written in Spanish and the first published in a vernacular other than Italian. Soon thereafter (sometime between 1526 and 1537), Sagredo’s treatise was translated into French, with an additional section on the proportion and spacing of columns, and published in Paris under the title Raison darchitecture antique…. The Gordon Collection includes the first French edition (referenced above) and a subsequent 1542 edition.

Sagredo’s work introduces the terms of classical Roman architecture and its underlying geometrical forms to his educated Castillian readers. His primary source, acknowledged in the first part of the Medidas, was the roman architectural treatise of Vitruvius. Nigel Llewellyn has also shown to what extent the De re aedificatorio of the Italian architect Alberti was another important influence on Sagredo’s work.¹

Sagredo’s treatise is set up in the form of a fictional dialogue between Tampeso, a clergyman whose voice is often associated with that of the author, and Picardo, a painter who asks the questions that allow Tampeso to expound on architectural theory and forms. Tampeso defends the effort and expense of grand architectural edifices, as well as the talents and learning of architects. He emphasizes the importance of geometry, part of a liberal arts training, to the understanding of architecture. Influenced by Renaissance humanism, Sagredo argues that the architect should be a learned man, and accorded a higher status than that assigned to the manual activities of the building trade.

Following the example of Vitruvius, and also the main currents of humanist thought, Sagredo establishes the human body, created in God’s image, as the model of ideal proportion in architecture. This anthropomorphic view of architecture is evident in the illustrations of the cornice, which clearly draw the analogy between classical architectural design and the human form. Elsewhere, Tampeso refers to the Vitruvian description of a human figure within a circle and a square, both perfect geometric forms. Illustrations of that Vitruvian figure became a standard element in Renaissance architectural treatises.

Along with an emphasis on the geometric figures underlying architectural forms, Sagredo focuses on the details of exterior design, moving downward from the classical forms of the cornice, to the types of columns that correspond to the five orders of architecture and the rules for their embellishment, to the bases and pedestals that support them. Although the Medidas focus primarily on the Classical orders, Sagredo did not forget the aesthetic tastes of his fellow Spanish readers, and included a chapter on the baluster, a type of column that is identified as a uniquely Spanish architectural form.

¹ See pages 130-135 in chapter 6 of Paper Palaces: The Rise of the Renaissance Architectural Treatise, edited by Vaughan Hart and Peter Hicks. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 1998.

Further Reading

Hart, Vaughan, and Peter Hicks, eds. Paper Palaces: The Rise of the Renaissance Architectural Treatise. New Haven: Yale UP, 1998. Chapter 6.

Lemerle, Frédéric. "La version française des Medidas del Romano." Diego de Sagredo, Medidas del Romano. Eds. F. Marías and F. Pereda. Toledo:Antonio Pareja Editor, 2000. Vol. II, p. 93-106.

Internet Resources

Architectura: Architecture, Textes et Images XVIe - XVIIe siècles: Sagredo, Diego de (c1490-1528): provides a transcription of Gordon 1526 .S27 (first edition of the Raison darchitecture...) as a .pdf file. Also includes digital versions (image format and transcription) of the 1539 and the 1542 editions, along with an informative introduction in French to the author and his treatise.

Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes provides access to a digital copy (facsimile) of Medidas del romano o Uitruuio: nueuame[n]te impressas y añadidas muchas pieças & figuras muy necessarias a los officiales.... Toledo : en casa de Jua[n] de Ayala, 1564.

Materials on this page contributed by Karen Simroth James, University of Virginia (2005).