Germain Boffrand was deemed one of the most influential french architects around 1700. He was known to break traditions and innovate both in the interior and exterior of buildings. He is seen as one of the founders of the Rococo style, which later spread throughout all of Europe.
My interpretation of this book is that it is to be seen as his version of Vitruvius’ de Architectura. He addresses his book to the king just like Vitruvius. He also distinctly mentions the orders and the proportionality thereof, which is a clear parallel to his predecessor. I believe this work is his Magnum Opus and was meant to depict both what he had achieved in architecture and also his understanding of what architecture should be, both in the future and currently.
Even though I believe de Architectura and Germain Boffrand’s Livre d’Architecture contenant les Principes Generaux de cet Art are similar in intention, I believe they differ in focus. Boffrand focuses on more specific interior elements and decorations, which he carefully illustrates in the main part of his book. In general, one can say that this book isn’t as philosophical or text-heavy as de Architectura. The majority of Boffrands book is illustrations of various building types ranging from large-scale palace complexes over to small-scale room decorative elements.
To conclude I believe it is safe to say that comparing de Architectura and Boffrands Livre d’Architecture they are similar in intention, ergo to spread the author’s idea and image of architecture and what it is supposed to represent. However, Boffrand focuses a lot more on concrete examples of his ideas and illustrates these rather than explaining them through text.
2 thoughts on “Argument_85”
I found connections with your book after searching for the term ‘breaking tradition’. I had actually initially only searched for the word ‘tradition’, but this led me to results that also took into account those who had followed tradition and were in line with it. In fact, I needed a book that broke with the tradition of the time, because the author of my book, Leon Battista Alberti, is known to be the one who broke with tradition and is therefore also considered the founder of the Renaissance. That is why I find your book Livre d’architecture by Germain Boffrand to be a good book that has in common with mine innovation and breaking with tradition, as well as language. In fact, as you wrote, Germain is known for breaking tradition and innovating both the interior and exterior of buildings.
Hi, I found your book looking for books that deal with Vitruvius. My book: “I quattro primi libri di architettura” by Pietro Cataneo deals with him as well. You state in your text that Boffrand breaks traditions in his works. I think our books are similar in the way that the author uses Vitruvius as a reference and then changes his theories.
Just like your book, my book is structured more into analytical drawings than meaningful text. While Vitruvius tends to philosophy, our authors want to show clear drawings of different architectural parts of a structure.
Our books differ however in the way the authors choose their building elements. Cataneo almost only deals with columns, while Boffrand expands his subjects to large complexes as well.