Filarete Architecture Treatise

Filarete Architecture Treatise
Filarete Architecture Treatise

In this case we are not going to talk about a specific architectural work, but about a theoretical treatise that influenced the creators of its time. It is the Treaty of Architecture of Antonio Averlino, also known as Filarete. A character of theItalian Renaissance(ca. 1400 – ca. 1469) who did works of sculpture, engineering and architecture, although his greatest contribution was this theoretical work

Architecture Treatise Page

Architecture Treatise Page

He wrote it between the years a160 and 1464, and curiously he never got to see his work in print, and yet it was enormously known among Renaissance artists, since several handwritten works by the author circulated, and where there was no lack his most emblematic drawings.

Filarete was actually a character who participated quite actively in the cultural effervescence of the Cinquecento italiano, and he did so in different places where he developed his life and work, that is: Florence, Rome and Milan.

It is precisely in the Lombard city of Milan that he undertakes the drafting of his treatise, which he dedicates to the rulerFrancesco Sforza, a member of one of the most powerful lineages and cults of his time. In whose honor he not only conceives this book, but actually posits an entire ideal city, theSforzinda

It is precisely the description of that citythe one that serves as the common thread of his peculiar interpretation of architecture, in which he links not only the formal and the constructive, but also relates it to the social, the theoretical and the real.

The result is that of a very didactic manual, presented as a dialogue, as classical writers of the stature of Plato already did.

Although, although due to the forms and the moment in which he wrote his Treatise on Architecture we have to speak of a work of the Renaissance, the truth is that many of the ideas Social events that transcend their reading are much more closely related to the Middle Ages and the feudal system than to the 15th century.

The Sforzinda city that he presents to us is a Renaissance city due to its planning of geometries very typical of Humanism, but completely hierarchical based on feudal models.

But beyond its architectural theories, and its undoubted value as a sample of the artistic and social thought of the time, there are even authors who consider the Treaty of Architecture as an artistic jewel given the enormous quality of the drawings it contains.

Page handwritten and drawn by Filarete

Handwritten page drawn by Filarete

These are drawings that are essentially detailed graphic representations of his architectural descriptions, but at the same time their quality reveals the complex sensitivity of their author. He combines the geometric, the exquisite and the vulgar, as if through them he wanted to show his ownconflicts.

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