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Martini, Francesco di Giorgio, 1439–1502

Trattato di architectura civile e militare.

Northern Italy, not after 1521.
Physical Description:
1 volume (178 pages) : illustrations ; 44 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Folio A 2015 2
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
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Archives & Manuscripts
Francesco di Giorgio Martini (1439-1501) was a painter, sculptor, architect, and hydraulic engineer. He worked for the Dukes of Urbino and the Aragonese rulers of Naples, oversaw the aqueduct system of his native Siena, and was summoned to Milan to give advice on the construction of the Duomo. His architectural treatises were studied by engineers including Leonardo da Vinci, who owned and annotated a manuscript of the Trattati.
"Aside from his additions to the ducal palaces at Urbino and Gubbio, it is [Francesco's] work as military architect for which he is renowned. The defenses that he designed for the duchy of Montefeltro are among the first attempts to build fortifications capable of withstanding cannon shot while being defended by flanking fire, in the manner that would ultimately lead to the fully realized angle bastions of the sixteenth century. Francesco deals substantially with fortification in the penultimate book of his Trattato. Like Vitruvius, he saw the art as an integral component of classical building tradition. Francesco's drawings show many forms of fortification, but few of these are fully effective or efficient. ... Francesco's writings were never published in his lifetime. The Trattato remained in manuscript form, surviving in several different versions, which date to essentially two different periods of his career. This copy was based on a later composition, completed sometime after 1482. While the drawings are at least partly in Francesco's hand, the text was written by copyists sometime around 1520."--Compass and rule : architecture as mathematical practice in early modern England, 1550-1750.
The present manuscript is a copy of the second version of the treatise. It is not listed in Gustina Scaglia, Francesco di Giorgio: Checklist and History of Manuscripts and Drawings in Autographs and Copies from ca. 1470 to 1687 and Renewed Copies (1764-1839) (London and Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1992). Of the manuscripts published in Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Trattati di architettura, ingegneria e arte militare, ed. Corrado Maltese (Milan: Il Polifilo, 1967), it is most closely related to the version in Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, ex-Magliabecchianus II.I.141. There are still many variations within the text. The version of the text in Magliabecchinus II.I.141 was probably completed about 1492; see Richard J. Betts, “On the Chronology of Francesco di Giorgio's Treatises: New Evidence from an Unpublished Manuscript”, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 36:1 (1977), p.13.
Written in Italy in the 16th century. On f. 89v is a note with the year 1521, giving a terminus ad quem for the manuscript.
Thick paper. There are two watermarks in the volume. The first is an anchor similar to Briquet 470 (Casalmaggiore, 1526), occurring in quires I-III and V. The second is an anchor and star similar to Briquet 478 (Bergamo, 1502), occurring in quires III-IV and VI-X.
Written in a single column with approximately 39-40 lines per full page. 408 x 285 mm (304 x 167 mm).
Collation: iii (paper, contemporary with binding) + I-V¹⁰, VI⁸, VII¹⁰, VIII⁸, IX¹⁰, X⁹ (construction unclear) + iii (paper, contemporary with binding).
Written and corrected in an italic script by several hands using inks ranging from dark to reddish brown. The scribes leave blank spaces for decorated initials, which have not been added. There are marginal notes in contemporary hands.
Bound in 18th century mottled calf with gilt borders. Marbled endpapers with a "French Curl" pattern. The front pastedown is slightly damaged, presumably from the removal of an earlier bookplate.
Provenance: Sir William Stirling Maxwell (1818-1878), bookplate on back pastedown -- Paul Mellon (1907-1999), bookplate on front pastedown.
The manuscript is discussed at length, and compared with the Houfe Album and Codex Cholmondey, in: Waters, Michael J. "Francesco di Giorgio and the Reconstruction of Antiquity. Epigraphy, Archeology, and Newly Discovered Drawings." Pegasus - Berliner Beiträge zum Nachleben der Antike, 16 (2014).
Selected exhibitions: "Paul Mellon's Legacy: A Passion for British Art" (Yale Center for British Art, 18 April-29 July, 2007); "Compass and rule : architecture as mathematical practice in early modern England, 1550-1750" (Yale Center for British Art, February 18, 2010-May 30, 2010).
The manuscript has no modern foliation. Folios are recorded by the modern number they would have and also by their contemporary quire signature, where present.
Prologue. ff.1r (A1) - 2r (A2) [...]upompo di Macedonia egregio mathematicho nissuna arte perfectamente nelli homini ... et per questi septe trattati pare che tuta La materia di questa arte sia perfectamente compressa.
First treatise, on necessary principles and rules. ff.2r (A2) - 7v [Q]uesto primo trattato In tante parti si porria dividere quante conclusioni generali in se contiene ... et cossi posto e fine al primo tratato dove si dovea considerare delle parti communi ali altri. Finisce il primo trattato.
Second treatise, on parts of houses and buildings and ways to find water. ff.7v - 21v [I]ntelleto nostro come di tutti e corpi e piu nobile cosi di tutte le substantie immateriali ... in stanti febricita si et per queste determinationi et conclussioni sia posto fine al sichondo trattato. Qui finisce il sechondo trattato.
Third treatise, on castles and cities. ff.22r (C2) - 24r (C4) [L]a natura universale che non mancha nelle chosse necessarie ne ibunda inse superflue ... maximamente verso li confini, dove conli vicini sono sempre naturali inimicitie Seguono le figure.
Fourth treatise, on temples. ff.24v - 38v [B]enche naturalmente ogni sienentia sia dalli homini desideratta come testificha Aristotile ... et cosi sia posto fine al quarto tratatto riferendo gratie a quello a cui gloria et statto excogita il subiecto suo: Fine del quarto trattatto.
Fifth treatise, on types of castles and fortresses. ff.39r - 77v [L]a humana natura ad similitudine et imagine del factore suo producta come dellaltre corporee ... ad dilettatione et utilita deli iusti principi et potentati, et gloria di collui che alli homini il dominio concede: fine del Quinto Trattato.
Sixth treatise, on parts and types of ports. ff.78r - 81r (J5) [H]avendo la natura ordinato che diverse parti della terra siano dotate di varij frutti ... essendo utili voglio esser contento et terminare il trattato: supplendo col disegno al mio breve parlare: fine del sexto trattato.
Seventh treatise, on machines to move weights and draw water. ff.81v - 89r (K3) [G]randi pesi bilogna movere da loco ad locho nello Edifichare dove semza ingegno ... peripheria di minuti denti et questi el rochetto movano della machina come appare per la figura della ceste segnata .9.
Conclusion. ff.89v [L]a mente de mortali come perpetua et incorruptibile in certo modo essere di infinita virtu ... con laiuto del fatto del tutto da cui tutte le virtu sono concesse: Fine del settimo et ultimo Trattato.
Subject Terms:
Architecture -- Italy.
Architecture, Renaissance -- Italy.
Manuscripts, Renaissance -- Connecticut -- New Haven.
Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts, Yale Center for British Art.
Military architecture -- Early works to 1800.
Military art and science -- Early works to 1800.
Stirling Maxwell, William, 1818-1878 -- Bookplate.
Manuscripts, Renaissance -- Italy -- 16th century.
Ink drawings.
Architectural drawings.
Stirling Maxwell, William, 1818-1878, former owner.
IIIF Manifest:

Paul Mellon's Legacy : A Passion for British Art (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

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