Walther Ryff was the first writer to publish a German translation of Vitruvius 10 book in 1548 after publishing his own Latin version in 1543 and a German commentary in 1547. His version of the 10 books and the comments are mostly build up on Cesarians version of the 10 books and the architecture treatises by Sebastiano Serlio. His contribution to the theory of architecture on the north side of the alps was immense.
The book by Walther Ryff is a German translation and commentary of Vitruvius 10 books. It is quite hard to read not because of its old German but because of its structure. The comments are in chronological order to the book its self nevertheless they do not contain any clear marked chapters or subtitles which makes it hard to understand about which part of the book he is writing or translating, without going into detail. To understand the book and its comments, you really have to focus on the text and the few pictures left.
The drawings and the titles on top are the only break through the whole book and its incredible amount of text. Furthermore, there also is no kind of regularity in the layout of the few pictures which makes it even harder to understand it’s importance or to which part of the text it belongs. All of these things combined make it very hard to understand the book without really studying it very concentrated.
Not only is it hard to understand immediately which comment or picture belongs to which part of the book, but also its principles get lost. With the lack of organization throughout the book it’s very hard to focus on the important things, so by reading the commentary afterwards the focus gets pulled to the themes he preferred and wonted to discuss. Walter Ryff focused very much on geometry and mathematics which pushes back a lot of important themes discussed by Vitruvius in the background.
Due to being the first German translation he has influenced a very big part of the German speaking community about the theory of architecture. This means, that even though it is a translation, for everyone reading it with or without commentary gets another point of view as the one that may have been shown by Vitruvius.
Keywords: structure, irregularity and influence