Keywords: Illustrations, Precision, Order
Ferdinando Ruggieri (1691-1741), a Florentine architect at the Medici court, published the Studio di architettura civile (a study on civil architecture) in 1722, a three-volume set detailing the city’s most famous architectural models and exemplifying them by architectural detail research. This is the first series of engravings by the world’s most famous architects. Ruggieris’s work is mainly composed of drawings. Only a few times in this book is text used to annotate and clarify the drawings, which make up a large portion of the content.
Such examples are the introductory texts at the start of each book, in which the author provides an overview of the topics he will discuss. Following all introductions, there seems to be a table of contents. Architectural features such as windows, doors, and staircases are depicted, along with precise measurements and different hatching techniques. The specifics shown are from typical Florentine buildings designed by the most well-known architects of the period, such as Ammanti, Buontalenti, and Brunelleschi. These illustrations are sometimes accompanied by concise annotations and single sentences at the bottom of the page, most certainly offering a brief description of what is being displayed and putting it in a didactic sense. Depending on the purpose of the text, a few different fonts are used. Italic letters are used for annotations.
Though the drawings are not numbered, the pages are, and the majority of them tend to be attributed to other scholars and artists, while others remain uncredited, implying that Ruggieri is the author. The drawings are in ascending order of scale and difficulty of the architectural detail portrayed. The majority of the images are on the right side of the double page. The explanation for this may be that the book’s paper is translucent, so you won’t be distracted by the pushed-through image on the back side of the page. Another explanation may be that Ruggieri wanted to make it easier to concentrate on only one illustration at a time because the plans are incredibly complex and thus necessitate a great deal of attention. Few illustrations in the book’s final volume are also stretched through the entire double page. The difficulty of the Drawings, which ultimately consist of floor plans and cuts of tremendous scale and detail, is the reason for all of this. The remainder of the book is made up of text written in a concise style.