BOOKS ON ARCHITECTURE
|| [Marcus Cetius Faventinus]
|| Vetustus author... de architectura compendiosissime tractans...
|| Paris, M. de Vascosan, 1540
|| Besançon, Bibliothèque municipale, 234062
edition of the compendium of architecture appeared in 1540
at the bookseller Michel de Vascosan's shop following texts on mathematics,
geometry and astronomy by Cassiodore (Aurelii Cassiodori Senatoris
Cos. que Romani de quatuor mathematicis disciplinis Compendium. Adjectus
est vetustus author... de architectura compendiosissime tractans
quæ Vitruvius et cæteri locupletius ac diffusius tradidere...). It is followed by chapter 15 of Book X of the
De re ædificatoria by Alberti (Ex Leonis Baptistæ
de re ædificatoria libro decimo, quomodo serpentes, culices, cimices,
muscæ, mures, pulices, tineæ, & id genus molesta nocuaque
perdantur & arceantur). We owe the edition to the Orientalist
and polymath Guillaume Postel (1510-1581), who went back to an interpolated
version of the compendium of architecture with the passage "De
malthis diversis", pointed out as the last chapter (ch. 30). The
table of contents "De diversis fabricis Architectonicæ capita"
(ff. 9-9v°) precedes the text of the synopsis of architecture, divided
in thirty chapters (ff. 10-23).
compiler brought together the practical information on the private architecture
mainly contained in Vitruvius' treatise and in others: not satisfied
to reorganize it, he completed it, brought it up to date, indeed, corrected
it. The opuscule, for it is really a very brief text, written in a simple
impersonal style like all technical writings, was addressed to a wide
public. Thus it follows a practical logical order: the prologue, general
theoretical knowledge (ch. 1 and 2), water (prospecting, boring, conveyance..., ch. 3-7), building materials (ch. 8-12), construction (the country
villa, the urban residence, baths, ch. 13-17), finishing off (ornamental
paving, ceilings..., measuring instruments (ch. 28-29), various types
of cement (ch. 30).
seem that the compendium met with little success since in 1550
Vascosan decided to issue in a new edition only Cassodiore and Alberti
without the summary of architecture. In the meantime it is true that
Jean Martin's French translation of Vitruvius came out (Paris, Jacques
Gazeau, 1547). But architects and theoreticians had no reason to use
an opuscule which taught them nothing. In his Annotations on
Vitruvius (Rome, 1544; Lyon, 1552), Guillaume Philandrier worked on
the very sources of the antique author. Moreover, in 1624, Louis Savot
made no mention of the work in his long bibliography of architecture
(L'architecture françoise des bastimens particuliers).
And it appears neither in the libraries of Mansart, Le Vau or Lemercier.
Only the scholar from Aix, Nicolas Claude Fabri de Peiresc (1580-1637),
a student of architecture but above all a well-informed bibliophile,
possessed the 1540 edition. This edition was cited and sought out in
Padua in 1739 by marquis Giovanni Poleni in his Exercitationes Viruvianæ
secundæ, under the title Anonymus scripor vetus, de architectura
compendiosissime tractans, quæ Vitruvius et ceteri locupletius
quidem ac diffusius tradidere. However, in 1580, Élie Vinet had published an edition of the compendium of architecture which he ascribed to Palladius.
from antiquity was not identified until the second half of the 19th
century (Cam 2002, p. LXIV): Marcus Cetius Faventinus, who no doubt
lived during the first half of the 3rd century. He was one of the sources
of Palladius and Isidore de Seville.
Frédérique Lemerle (Centre national de
la recherche scientifique,
Centre d’études supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours) – 2008
M. C. Faventinus, Abrégé d’architecture privée,
Text established, translated et annotated by M.-T. Cam, Paris, Les Belles
Lettres, 2002, pp. VII-LXVIII (1st ed.: Paris, 2001).
F. Lemerle, "La bibliothèque d’architecture de Nicolas-Claude
Fabri de Peiresc", Revue de l’Art, 157, 2007-3,
F. Marías, « ¿ Palladio o Palladius ? Marco Cetio Faventino : sobre la supuesta edicíon francesa de Andrea Palladio de 1580 », Annali di architettura, 21, 2009, pp. 91-98.