BOOKS ON ARCHITECTURE
translation of De re ædificatoria was Jean Martin’s
last literary occupation. It came out in 1553, at the presses of Jacques
Kerver, a short while after Martin’s death, as his old friend
and collaborator Denis Sauvage reveals in his preface. We do not know
where, when or how Martin translated Alberti’s ten books. The
privilege dated August and September of 1551 indicates that he was still
alive, still secretary to the Cardinal de Lenoncourt at that time. Published
without translator’s preface, without annotations, index or lexicon,
the French version of 1553 seems first to be based on the Latin edition
printed by Jacob Cammerlander in Strasbourg in 1541 (Re aedificatoria
libri... Recens summa diligentia capitibus distincti, et a foedis mendis
repurgati, per Eberhardum Tappium Lunensem), which had introduced
certain variations in relation to preceding editions or to Pietro Lauro’s
Italian translation, itself close to the 1541 Latin text (I dieci
libri de l’architettura... novamente de la latina ne la volgar
lingua con molta diligenza tradotti, Venise, V. Valgrisi, 1546),
often to the detriment of the intelligibility of the Italian text. On
the other hand, Cosimo Bartoli’s Italian version, the first illustrated
edition of Re aedificatoria (L’architettura.... con
la aggiunta de disegni, Florence, L. Torrentino, 1550) was used
to translate books VIII, IX and X. Owing to the quality of the translation
of these last books and other singularities, we can perceive two phases
and two different responsibilities in the edition attributed to Martin.
In all likelihood he translated the De re ædificatoria
on the basis of the Strasbourg Latin edition and of Lauro’s Italian
translation. Then, Sauvage, Bartoli’s version in hand, apparently
revised some parts of the text, notably books VIII-X, perhaps the last
ones translated a bit hastily by Martin. Following Bartoli’s example,
Sauvage apparently also took charge of choosing the illustrations for
the French translation.
Mario Carpo (École d’architecture de Paris La Villette) - 2005
L. B. Alberti, L’art d’édifier, translated from the Latin, presented and commented by P. Caye and F. Choay, Paris, Seuil, 2004.
M. Carpo, "Les problèmes de la traduction du De re aedificatoria d’Alberti, 1553", Jean Martin, Un traducteur au temps de François Ier et de Henri II, Cahiers V. L. Saulnier, 16, Paris, PENS, 1999, pp. 127-135.
M. Carpo, "La traduction française du De re aedificatoria (1553). Alberti, Martin, Serlio et l’échec d’un classicisme vulgaire", F. Furlan, P. Laurens & S. Matton (ed.), Leon Battista Alberti, Paris/Turin, Vrin/Nino Aragno Editore, 2000, pp. 923-964.
M. Carpo, "Le De Re Aedificatoria de Leon Battista Alberti
et sa traduction française par Jean Martin, à Paris chez
Jacques Kerver en 1553", S. Deswarte-Rosa (ed.), Sebastiano Serlio à Lyon,
Architecture et imprimerie, Lyon, Mémoire Active, 2004, pp. 371-372.