First of all, to even understand the structure it is important to know, that the masterpiece by Andrea Palladino is divided into four books.
So, the topics are chosen very wisely, and the author was inspired by Vitruvius.
The first book discusses the building materials and their techniques. It is documented in their five classical orders, the Doric, the ionic, the Corinthian, the Tuscan and the Composite. To be more precise the first book talks also about all the parts of the classical order and also other building elements.
The second book talks about the designs of private urban townhouses and also country villas.
The third book is dedicated to the planning of the city, this means talking about the streets, bridges, piazzas and so on.
The fourth book is talking about the specific Roman temples along with nowadays church design.
The structure of the book and the illustration of the different topics are in a really close cooperation and in my personal opinion very understandably presented.
These images and their explanation are in a very detailed way performed and also in a close cooperation with the different topics. For example, the first book, which is as already said talking about the building materials and techniques, is illustrated with some columns. The way the drawings are made and the detailed setting of lines by Andrea Palladino is the fundament of nowadays drawings and illustrations.
the drawings are so strong and understandable that even without the text, they can be viewed alone as a sketch and have a very strong expressiveness.
The beautiful cooperation between text and illustration but also the amount of one of each, is very harmonical. Even if the book is looked at it without understanding the text because of the language or the architectural and historical context, it is presented in a very clear way and the viewer is almost enchanted and motivated to look at the whole thing more closely.
The whole work is drawn in a such artistic beauty that even the beginning of the chapters is highlighted with very detailed and precise small drawings with the letter of the first sentence in it. these are not important for the understanding of the particular themes that Andrea Palladino treats, but they reinforce the whole work as an artistic work. it enhances his masterpiece in a very special way.
I quattro libri dell’ architettura is a close collaboration of factual text and the presentation of this information which has been well realized in a very artistic way.
‘e colonne di ciafcun’ordine fi deono formate in modo che la parte di fopra fia piu di quella di fotto, e nel mezo habbiano alquanto di gonfiezza.’
‘and columns of any order should be formed in such a way that the top is more than the bottom, and the middle has some swelling.’