The book “Reigle générale d’Architecture des cinq manières de colonnes” was written by Master Jean Bullant, ordinary architect of the Constable Anne de Montmorency at that time.
This book deals with the five ways of building, namely, Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite. It is also enriched with several other examples from Antiquity. All this is done following the rules and doctrine of Viturve.
This work is, according to its author, necessary for painters, sculptors, goldsmiths, masons, carpenters, joiners, and all other professions working with compasses and squares.
The text is a collage of the French translations of Vitruvius and Alberti.
The book is illustrated with drawings representing on the one hand the theoretical models of the five orders, faithfully taken from Serlio, and on the other hand models taken from the most famous Roman monuments that he measured during his studies of ancient art in Rome (the theatre of Marcellus, the temple of virile Fortune, the Pantheon, the temple of the Dioscuri and the Arch of Titus).
The drawings are made with a very geometrical system (scales of modules, portions of circles) which allows to indicate in a practical way the internal proportions. This is perfectly suitable for theoretical models, but poses a problem when it comes to ancient monuments, whose dimensions do not correspond to geometric perfection; Bullant cheats to make it correspond to Vitruvius’ theory.
It is important to note that the drawings have no shading, only lines.
The large size of the book (42 cm high) allows Bullant to make large drawings so that the details are clear. However, the book is very thin; this is enough to represent the 5 orders and the examples that Bullant wanted to illustrate.
In conclusion, Bullant creates, through this work, a kind of synthesis of other books on columns already existing. The originality of his work lies in the size of the book and in the very systematic way in which he represents the orders.