Mathematics – Ornaments – Sketches
Ottavio Revesi Bruti’s Archisesto is all about the five orders of classical architecture. Indeed, during the Renaissance period, antique trends are coming back and architecture is no exception. Architects then study antique architecture, including Vitruvius’ writings, and they will soon publish their own books, re explaining ancient theories or architecture. In Revesi Bruti’s case, each order is described in its own dedicated chapter, every element is portrayed in a very detailed way. The explications, always accompanied by sketches and drawings, describe each order, from how to distinguish one from another to how to perfect the ornaments.
The drawings represent almost half of the book, they can be found, without exception, next to every paragraph of description or calculation. Every time, a whole page is dedicated to the drawing, no matter its size, or the size of the paragraphe relating to it. The lines are fine and precise, and no superfluous stroke is blurring the simplicity of the drawings, thus making them even more relevant. In the middle of the chapter, the sketches begin to be more detailed and letters are added. These letters relate to calculations of proportion in the corresponding paragraph, or sometimes, to precise descriptions that need them.
Mathematics play an important role in classical architecture, the ancients believed that beauty could be found in symmetry and proportions. This led to the invention of rules and theories stating the beauty standards, proportion being one of the most important ones. The people living during the Renaissance would use these rules again, keeping the same proportions that the ancient greeks and romans chose. In this book, every proportion is explained and calculated for each order with or course, other important details relevant to the element described. What makes this book particularly pertinent is the fact that every element has its own dedicated page, the columns, the door, the capital, Ottavio Revesi Bruti doesn’t forget anything, nothing is random with his book.
The end of each chapter is dedicated to ornaments. Following the calculation and description of the bigger elements, the description of the ornaments are as precise and relevant. Every ornament is sketched with precision and even have their own proportion rules. As stated in the previous paragraph, proportion is one of the most important rule of the ancient, this is not surprising that the ornaments are concerned by this rule too. Along with the mathematics, Ottavio Revesi Bruti shows some techniques on how to mesure it in real life.
With nothing left in the corner, every detail covered, Archisesto is a good example of precision and accuracy.