The Book Seülen-Buch, oder, Gründlicher Bericht von den fünf Ordnungen der Architectur-Kunst, wie solche von Marco Vitruvio, Jacobo Barrozzio, Hanns Blumen, etc. und andern vornehmen berühmten Baumeistern seynd zusammen getragen und in gewisse Abtheilungen verabfasset worden : wie auch die so genandten darzu gehörigen fünff Termes, wie nemlich dieselben nach rechter Proportion und Symmeterey sollen auffgerissen und nachgemacht werden. Mit neben beygefügten schönen Capitälen, Außzügen, Untergehängen und Nebenflügeln, vermehret, außgezieret, und in 3. Theil ordentlich eingerichtet. Allen Liebhabern, so sich des Circkuls, Linials und Richtscheids bedienen, als Bildhauer, Mahler, Schreiner, Steinmetzen, Zimmerleut, etc. und dergleichen, zu Lieb und Nutzen, in diesen geschmeidigen Format gebracht / durch einen Liebhaber der edlen Architectur-Kunst an den Tag gegeben, und mit mehren Kupffern und Zierathen vermehrt by Georg Kaspar Erasmus has a very clear structure.
Starting with the title page of the book, it is partially written in red ink and the font gets gradually smaller from the top to the bottom. Only to be found in the title page is an ornamental frame. The most important part of the Title, which describes the essence of the book “Seülen-Buch” (translated: pillar book), is highlighted in this page with ornamental letters at the beginning letters. The title itself fills the entire page.
Regarding the general text composition of the book; All pages have a clear margin. The header of each page is the name of the chapter that the reader is situated in. All beginnings of a sentence of a new chapter start with an ornamental letter, which are much bigger than the standard font size of this book. The title of a chapter is always written in a font size bigger than the rest of the text in the book. The font used has great resemblance to the Gothic print.
The Book contains many drawings and illustrations; many of which are perspective views, architectural drawings which are both very detailed and precise. Some of these drawings include graphical calculations and the geometry of the pillar shown. All illustrations are full page, meaning none are integrated into a text-page and most are foldout spreads. The ratio between illustrations and text is more or less 50:50, with the illustrations almost equally distributed within the book; although the end of the book (ca. the last 20 pages) contains only illustrations and no text. Each page of illustration is numbered and occasionally referred within the text, but there is no list of contents to be found.
While leafing the book, and regarding the name of the title, this book looks & feels like an academic study of the author about different architects in the topic of pillars. On the basis of this collection of research & discussion on the mentioned architect, this book can be used as a reference or even as a handbook.
As the book I was assigned did not work through on the OCR, I’ve been assigned a second book: “The Book of the Courtier” by Baldassare Castiglione.
The “Seülen-Buch […]” by Erasmus analyses different types of pillars and techniques from different architects, and in a sense trying to find the “ideal pillar”. Meanwhile, “The Book of the Courtier” by Baldassare Castiglione is a philosophical dialogue on the topic of what constitutes an ideal courtier or court lady, worthy to befriend and advise a prince or political leader. Although the two books are about completely unrelated topics, there might be a connection, as both authors report on their discussion on the “ideal”, and both strive for perfection by taking examples from outside sources, comparing these and having a critical look at it.