When referred to the name “Friends with an old book”, varied things and stories occur to my mind. The old book maybe will tell me how to become a Kungfu master or lead me to a totally different exotic world. Being friends with an old book is very romantic, it will add the history and already tested experiences to us. That’s all what I thought of the task before I started. Although I have not been a master yet because of the task, but all the process doesn’t let me down.
Sitting in the cozy library in Einsiedeln, quiet and dedicated in the world of old books, I was not so calm down as I looked like. I was assigned to a French old book, namely “Architecture, ou, Art de bien bastir” by Jean Martin. I don’t know any words of French. At the beginning I even didn’t know whether I should go to pick the book when the teacher called my book. How can I become a friend with this book, that I can’t read or get to understand. However, it seems that the book can speak, it tells me what it is with the structure and the organization of text and images. With these hints I can even grasp the red line of the book and suppose the delivered information of it. I am in it, have fun, and begin to reflect on how this book came off the press and has been saved by this time.
Then the tasks let us to identify and list the known editions of the book. I have searched “Jean Martin” in many different books about it. I found that many books have quoted content from this book. It is the first edition of the first complete French translation of Vitruvius’ treatise and a significant introduction of the new Italian architectural theory to French readers. Martin’s edition was important enough to achieve two reprintings, one in 1572 and the last, published in Cologne and Geneva, in 1618. I was so delighted and a little proud, that I was assigned to this book. I began to have a review of the book. With the resource from task 1, namely the digital files of the book, I can read the book once again, in a comprehensive and attentive way. I started to survey the illustrations of the book over again. In association with the age and the background of it, I think this book intend to introduce a method to people, teaching people how to understand and build with the help of geometry and perspective. In the Illustrations there are many reference lines with eyes and structure of the buildings. The figure of the people is regarded as the reference of the building. In that time that was epoch-making undoubtedly.
I am very thankful for the one-year long friendship with the old book, it tells me the way of how to cognize an unfamiliar thing. Man can’t hold all the knowledges or languages, man should find a way to learn and try to draw up a step-by-step plan to closer and closer approach the aim. Different languages or cultures may hinder us to understand the things, but truth doesn’t.