<< YCBA Home Yale Center for British Art Yale Center for British Art << YCBA Home

YCBA Collections Search

IIIF Actions
Marchi, Francesco de, 1504–1577

Della architettura militare : manuscript.

Italy?, mid-16th century.
Physical Description:
1 volume : 85 drawings, one print ; 43 cm + 8 items
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Folio A 2015 33
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
View by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: The Study Room is open by appointment. Please visit the Study Room page on our website for more details.

Copyright Status:
Copyright Information
Archives & Manuscripts
Catalog record based on a description of the manuscript by Morgan Ng. See citation herewith.
Francesco Marchi (1504-1576), a native of Bologna, is best known for his illustrated treatise on fortification, Della architettura militare, published posthumously in 1599. As military engineer, he was responsible for fortifications in Rome for Pope Paul III, in Parma for the Farnese family, and in Flanders for Margaret of Parma.
Ng, Morgan. "New light on Francesco De Marchi (1504-1576) and his treatise on fortification." In Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, LVIII Band, Heft 3 (2016), pages 403-410
Bound set of 83 original fortification drawings by Francesco Marchi, all but one of which were later engraved for his Della architettura militare (1599). The drawings are executed in pen and ink and watercolor. Almost all are signed by Marchi. Also in the volume are diagrams of two labyrinths, drawn in ink, and an engraved portrait of Marchi, placed as a frontispiece. Accompanying the volume are an additional engraved portrait of Marchi and seven loose manuscript items (including notes and correspondence) concerning the Marchi volume, with information on the volume's provenance (before its purchase by Paul Mellon), the historical reception of Della architettura militare, and on multiple attempts to publish more "perfect" editions of the work. The accompanying material suggests provenance to the Malvezzi Campeggi family in Bologna (see Ng).
The designs include forts, city walls, bulwarks, bastions, and harbor and river fortification. Fields of fire and trajectories are indicated to show effectiveness of cross-fire. The designs consist of ground-plans alone or in combination with elevations and profiles. In the case of river and harbor fortifications, there are usually lively scenes of attacking fleets. Cannons and their proper emplacements are frequently shown in detail.
"Two of the watermarks in the Yale volume correspond precisely with those in De Marchi's manuscript treatise at the Biblioteca Nazionale di Firenze [mss. II.I.277-279] ... suggesting a close chronological relationship between the documents. Since the Yale drawings are labeled with chapter numbers, they may have originally accompanied the unillustrated theoretical writings in Florence, but were later separated to form an individual decorative volume."--Ng.
"The Yale drawings bear a close stylistic kinship to works by other Farnese architects. De Marchi's vibrant watercolors were not only decorative, but also conformed to a color-coding system for distinguishing different building materials - a technique developed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, an older Farnese architect De Marchi revered."--Ng.
The loose sheets accompanying the volume consist of the following (descriptions by Ng): [a] Copy of a letter from Felice Gazzola (Madrid) to Francesco Calzoni (Bologna), 5 July 1769 (see Ng for transcription) -- [b] Copy of a letter from Felice Gazzola (Madrid) to Francesco Calzoni (Bologna), 7 August 1769 (see Ng for transcription) -- [c] Engraved portrait of Francesco De Marchi commissioned by Felice Gazzola for an unrealized edition of Della architettura militare -- [d] Note by Bolognese professor Marcello Oretti (1714-1787) explaining that the above-mentioned engraved portrait was based on a painting in the Canossa palace in Verona -- [e] Note by Francesco Calzoni on Matteo Marchi, who served in the Royal Italian Regiment in Naples -- [f] Anonymous note on the possible use of the manuscript volume's labyrinth drawings and plate LXXVIII to complete the 1599 publication -- [g] Anonymous bibliographic citation of Ercole Corazzi, L'architettura militare di Francesco Marchi difesa dalla critica d'Allano Manesson Mallet, 1720 -- [h] Anonymous biographical note from June 1804 on the birth of Francesco De Marchi, according to Francesco Calzoni.
Subject Terms:
Calzoni, Francesco, -1817 -- Correspondence.
Fortification -- Italy.
Gazzola, Félix, 1698-1780 -- Correspondence.
Marchi, Francesco de, 1504-1577 -- Portraits.
Military architecture -- Italy.
Military art and science.
Ink drawings.
Gazzola, Félix, 1698-1780.
Oretti, Marcello, 1714-1787.
Calzoni, Francesco, -1817.
IIIF Manifest:

If you have information about this object that may be of assistance please contact us.