In Giacomo Leonis “The Architecture of A. Palladio» there are lots of drawings. Out of the first 120 pages, about 90 pages consist of graphical representations of architectural elements. That extreme focus on images makes the book very special and interesting. But why does he use so many drawings? That’s because he decided to really go into details when explaining his subjects. For example, he presents the different orders of pillars there are (doric, ionic, corinthian, tuscan, composite). For each of them he decided to display all the details including the exact dimensions of all the elements. He shows the proportions, the blueprints, and the construction. The details in each capital with its architrave is especially remarkable. There doesn’t seem to be anything he could’ve missed.
In later parts of the book there are beautiful drawings of entire buildings. Among other things, several buildings that are in Vienna. He shows us floor plans and views, but also once again detailed drawings of individual elements. He manages to put drawings of huge buildings and small details right next to each other, without it becoming illogical. You always know what it’s about and what Leoni wants to show us. Nevertheless, he only shows the most important things of the large buildings and does not get lost in irrelevant details.
Although he doesn’t use colour, he uses different line widths very succinctly. This is particularly helpful in complex drawings. One thing that struck me immediately while reading the book are the shadows in the drawings. Leoni only works with a few shades of grey but uses them very deliberately. The result is beautiful drawings with strong cast shadows. The fascinating thing about it is that even though the drawings are very artistic, they achieve an accuracy that you can still see that they are technical drawings.
While the pictures at the beginning of the book are in the middle of the text, they later fill entire pages (most of the time there is even a blank page next to the pictures to emphasize them even more). However, something I would criticize is that it hardly has any captions on the pictures. You always understand what it is about, since some pages are always text before or after, but some titles or scales would be helpful. It might even make sense to rearrange the pages so that the images always come immediately after the associated text.