BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPTS
Beinecke MS 491 Italy, s. XVI^^in
Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Trattati di archittetura ingegneria e arte
ff. 1r-57v Parmi che le fortezze cu'le loro circuitioni in tal modo adattate
sieno che dale machine delle bombarde scalamenti o altri stormenti bellici
difendare si possino...ancho di coro incotta conperto di suaro o altre materie
che ale botte alquanto resistare possino, si como la figura. Q.
MS 491 is a witness to the first version of the treatise which was probably
finished ca. 1476-77; see R. J. Betts, "The Architectural Theories of Francesco
di Giorgio," unpublished dissertation (Princeton University, 1971) pp. 131-40.
The order of contents is as follows: fortresses; temples, churches and
theaters; columns and other architectural details; plans for palaces; aqueducts;
measuring and surveying; instruments of war. There are, however, no headings
or chapter divisions. The contents correspond to two other manuscripts of di
Giorgio's first version of the treatise: Turin, Bibl. Nazionale, Saluzziano 148
and Florence, Bibl. Laurenziana, Ashburnham 361. MS 491 is slightly longer than
the Laurenziana codex, but shorter than the Turin manuscript, with the sections
on monasteries, diverse practical matters, campanile, gardens and the "Libro
dei Fuochi" of Marco Greco missing. The text of the Turin and Laurenziana
manuscripts has been edited by C. Maltese, F. di Giorgio Martini, Trattati di
archittetura ingegneria e arte militare (Milan, 1967) vol. 1; the Beinecke
manuscript was not known to Maltese but its text corresponds to Maltese, op.
cit., pp. 3-232.
Paper (sturdy; watermarks: anchor and star similar to Briquet Ancre 478,
Bergamo 1502), ff. ii (paper) + 57 + iii (paper), 410 x 260 (260 x 165) mm.
Written in two columns of 38-40 lines; single vertical bounding lines, full
length. Ruled in lead.
Collation uncertain due to fragile paper and binding.
Written in italic script by a single scribe who left blank spaces for
Outer and lower margins of almost every page filled with architectural or
mechanical sketches drawn either directly on the leaves (ff. 1r-5v) or on small
strips of paper pasted onto the margins of the leaves (ff. 6r-57v), in brown ink,
sometimes with green or pink washes. The drawings illustrate every section of
the text; many have explanatory inscriptions. They correspond closely to those
in the Turin and Laurenziana manuscripts (cf. Maltese, op cit., pls. 1-119).
The subjects are as follow: f. 1r anthropomorphic scheme of a fortified city;
f. 2r different polygonal structures and views and plans for fortification
towers; ff. 2v-3r designs for fortresses; f. 3v-4r details of a fortress and
external defenses such as palisades, designs for draw bridges; f. 4v
perspective view of a fortress; f. 5r umbilical towers, city plans, a human
figure inscribed in a circle and square; f. 5v-6r plans for cities with harbors;
f. 6v designs for breakwaters; f. 7r designs for locks and breakwaters; f. 7v
designs for bridge foundations, two bridges with three arches; f. 8r designs
for floating bridges, method of laying foundations in the water; f. 8v various
amphibious carts, method of laying foundations in the water; f. 9v plans for
longitudinal and centrally planned churches; f. 10r plan for a longitudinal
church; f. 10v analogy between the plan of a church and the human body, two
plans of churches with transept and dome; f. 11r scheme of the different
proportions between apse and nave of a church featuring a human head, various
designs for columns and pilasters, plans for domed churches; f. 12r designs for
centrally planned buildings; f. 12v plans and views of centrally planned
buildings; f. 13r plan and views of a theater, resonating vases for improving
the acoustics in a theater; f. 13v columns, capitals, and pilasters; f. 14r
columns, capitals, and bases; f. 14v design for a column, capitals, and bases;
f. 14v design for a column, capitals with impost block; f. 15r projection of a
column, designs for vases to be placed on columns; f. 15v modular structure
of the human body; f. 16r-18v plans for a palace; f. 19v designs for rooms and
courtyards; f. 20r designs for facades; f. 20v facade of a house and theater,
doorways, analogy between the upper human body and an entablature; f. 21r a
coffered dome, church facade with a standing colossus; f. 21v designs for
vaults and consoles; f. 22r designs for consoles, trussed roofs and chimney
tops; f. 22v chimney tops and fireplaces; f. 23r designs for baths; f. 23v
perspective view of a rustic villa; f. 25r design for an enclosed garden;
f. 25v designs for locks and breakwaters, various sieves and cisterns; f. 26r
two sieves, design for an aqueduct; f. 26v designs for tunnels and wells; f.
27r design for a well; f. 27v elementary geometric figures; f. 28r designs for
spire, columns and an obelisk, sketch of a quadrant and explanatory drawing for
measuring the height of towers with a quadrant; f. 29r explanatory drawing for
measuring the height of towers, method for measuring height and distance;
f. 29v diagrams for measuring width and depth; f. 30r method for constructing
a right angle, explanation for measuring the height of a campanile; f. 30v
method for measuring the height of a tower, instrument for measuring the depth
of a body of water; f. 31r design for a measuring square, method for measuring
the width of a river; f. 31v pendulum, method for constructing an arch, the
quadrature of the circle; f. 32r circle inscribed in a square and triangle,
square inscribed in a circle; f. 32v methods for constructing perspective; f.
33r diagram of half a wheel, design for a mill; ff. 33v-35r various designs
for water mills; f. 35v designs for water mills in running and stagnant water,
design for a combination water/wind mill; f. 36r design for a wind mill and
various water mills; f. 36v designs for water mills and mills turned by animal
power; f. 37r designs for wind and water mills; f. 37v designs for water mills;
f. 38r designs for mills in perpetual motion and self-fed water mills; 40v
plan for constructing a water pipeline over rugged terrain; f. 41r design for a
fountain, navigable locks, plan for constructing a water pipeline over rugged
terrain; ff. 41v-43r designs for water pumps; f. 43v methods for dredging a
body of water; f. 44r designs for rammers and machines for lifting heavy loads;
f. 44v machines for lifting heavy loads, designs for windlasses; f. 45r
designs for windlasses, machine for transporting heavy loads; f. 45v machines
for transporting and pulling heavy loads; f. 46r machines for lifting heavy
loads; f. 46v designs for wagons; f. 47r designs for wagons and amphibious
carts; f. 48r a bell tower; f. 50r how to blow up a tower, how to divert a
river to besiege a city, how to bring water into a city; f. 50v temporary
defenses for a besieged fortress, trenches approaching a fortress; f. 51r
designs for movable defenses; f. 51v designs for movable defenses for bombards;
f. 52r movable defenses for bombards; ff. 52v-53r designs for assault ships;
f. 53v bombards on trestles, section of a bombard; f. 54r designs for an
armored ship, trebouchets, ramrods and movable assault towers; f. 54v designs
for armored ships and floating bridges; f. 55r designs for floating bridges
and underwater defenses for blocking a shipping lane; f. 55v catapults; f. 56r
designs for scaling ladders; ff. 56v-57r designs for movable bastions and
scaling ladders; f. 57v designs for movable defenses.
Binding: s. xviii. Red edges. Mottled, brown calf, streaked on the
turn-ins. Blind-tooled, with a gold-tooled spine.
Written in Italy at the beginning of the 16th century. Flyleaf has note
"Tommaso Obizzi 1776 Cremona." This is probably Marchese Tommaso Obizzi
(1751-1803) who bequeathed 328 manuscripts to the Biblioteca Estense in Modena.
In 1861 the manuscript was offered for sale in Venice; handwritten note
pasted on flyleaf
reads: "L'autore del Codice di Archittetura Civile e Militare che abbiamo
jersera insieme esaminato e Francesco di Giorgio Martini
architetto Senese morto nel 1506. L'opera rimase inedita fino al 1841; in cui
l'Ingegnere Civile Promis di Torino la diede in luce cola in due volumi in
4^^to nell'Atlante. Questa magnifica edizione e posseduta qui dal Marchese
Pietro Salvatico e manca alla Marciana. Nella Marciana pero v'e l'opera
stessa in codice a penna del secolo XVI con le identiche figure di quella da noi
esaminato attaccate con colla fra il testo [?]; sebbene il carattere sia
diverso. Sta al Num^^o. III e IV della Classe degli Italiani nello
Scaffale e.II.-S. Ella puo comunicare tali notizie a regola del prezzo per
cui revorebbe alienare. Venezia 14 Giugno, 1861." Unidentified labels on
spine "911" and "1635"; these same numbers also appear on f. i verso. Purchased
from Zeitlin & Ver Brugge, 11 September 1970, as the gift of Edwin J. Beinecke.
Bibliography: The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle
Ages, exhib. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975) p. 196, no.
210, with pl. of f. 43r.
Barbara A. Shailor