Author(s) Kasemann, Rutger
Title Livre d’architecture...
Imprint Paris, J. Messager, 1622
Localisation Paris, Ensba, Les 1256
Subject Orders, Terms


     The book consists of a title page with escutcheon inset, followed by four pages of comments and 24 prints. Both the title page and the prints are identical to the original German edition of the same work, published in Cologne in 1616 under the title of: SEILEN BOCHG Darin Gieziert Seilen Vnt Termen Sin. Nievlichg An Dachg Giestelt Rotger Kaseman. Gietrvcket Bie Herman Schreiber. However, four prints from the original edition were not included in the French edition. Also the sequence of a number of prints was changed. The order of the prints was indicated with the letters A to BB. It is quite possible that the Cologne-based publisher Herman Schreiber sold the print plates for this work to his Paris colleague Jean Messager in the period between 1616 and 1622.
In the introduction, the German author Rutger Kasemann (c.1589-after 1645) refers to the examples of ancient Rome and to those of cities like Cologne and Antwerp, where the “actual models and patterns of this older architecture” are still present. Although the author claims to represent the “pedestaux, thermes, bases, colomnes, chapiteaux, frises, cornices, balustres & autres pièces” of the various column orders, he has not done so in a systematic fashion. He also claims to apply the Vitruvian principle, which consists in shortening the successive column orders and also making them more slender. Thus, the first plate shows the Tuscan order. The proportions between the various elements are indicated with simple measuring units. The proportion system and the module are taken from the work of Hans Blum, who in his standard work Von den fünff Sülen Gruntlicher bericht (Zurich, 1550) describes how measuring units are determined on the basis of dividing up the height of the pedestal of the Tuscan column into 6 equal parts. Kasemann, in imitation of Blum, uses the height of the pedestal, minus two units for the base and the astragal, for the construction of a square, in which a circle is drawn, with another square being drawn within this circle. The side of this second square is used as diameter of the underside of the shaft and chosen as measuring unit for the height of the shaft (six times). On the drawing on the left side of the same sheet, we see that Kasemann, in imitation of Vitruvius and Blum, makes the upper column one-fourth shorter than the lower one. On the next sheets, the different drawing methods for the Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite orders are adapted so that the columns become increasingly slender. Each time an example of a column with and without base is drawn on top of another. Different ornamentations of the shaft are also represented on the same drawing of the Ionic order (with horizontal bands and flutes). The subsequent prints show several highly elaborated variants of shafts and capitals of the various column orders. Plate E depicts the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders provided with lavish ornaments. The Doric shaft contains war trophies and weapons, and thus conveys a primarily utilitarian reference; the Ionic order is much more elegant with C- and S-shaped scrolls, whilst the Corinthian order with its floral motifs and geometric parterre structures on the shaft is related to pleasure and relaxation. The subsequent prints depict ornaments of friezes, capitals and cornices. Remarkable is the use of upwardly curling motifs in the Corinthian and Composite orders. Kasemann attaches such great importance to the use of balusters on the column shaft, and as independent ornaments, that he devotes six plates to it. They also feature turned shafts. Furthermore, the author pays a great deal of attention to the representation of terms, which are sometimes excessive and partly shown in perspective because of their complexity. Only on two examples are the capitals of the terms ornamented with women’s torsos. The use of recesses in terms results in an enormous reinforcement of the upper parts of the terms, whereby the upper capital is allocated a secondary role and the whole construction loses much of its harmonious structure. Also, the engraver does not always succeed in correctly representing these complex structures in perspective.
This book clearly belongs to the typical German architectural treatises from the second half of the sixteenth century to the first half of the seventeenth century. These publications seek to take up a more independent position in relation to the Italian treatises of Vitruvius, Alberti and Serlio, and therefore also in relation to their translations, e.g. those by Walther Ryff (1548) and Pieter Coecke van Aelst (from 1542). This German tradition of column books began in 1550 with Hans Blum’s column book and continued with various publications of Wendel I Dietterlin, Veit Eck, Johann Jacob Ebelmann, Jacob Guckeisen, Gabriel Krammer, Daniel Meyer and Johan Georg Erasmus. Also this work of Rutger Kasemann fits into this tradition, because it not only builds on the theory of column orders according to Blum, but also puts great emphasis on the decorum of the column order, and on the exuberant ornamentation of terms in particular.
The purpose of these works is to promote the dissemination of the Vitruvian column orders among the general public (stonemasons, bricklayers, sculptors, cabinetmakers etc.) by providing a large number of examples of all elements of the five orders, in combination with a simple geometric construction of proportions. As regards the language of forms and the ornamentations on the columns, they were to a great extent taken from contemporaries such as Dietterlin, Vredeman de Vries, Mayer and Krammer. The use of diamond motifs on many of the examples is believed to find its origin in the then fashionable ornaments in furniture art.
Of Rutger Kasemann a limited number of architectural works is known, all published in Cologne, barring the French translation under discussion, which was published in Paris. Architectura was published in 1615 and reprinted in 1643. Seilen Bochg came out in 1616 and was published in French in 1622. Blum’s column book was published by Kasemann as Architecture in 1625, and republished in 1644 and 1664. In 1627 a sheet with five column orders was published and the architectural treatise Architectvr, engraved by Hermanus Esser and provided with an extensive introductory text, came out in 1630. This work was repeatedly republished throughout the seventeenth century.

Piet Lombaerde (Hoger Instituut voor Architectuurwetenschappen Henry van de Velde, Association Université Anvers ) - 2006

Critical bibliography

U.-C. Bergemann, Die Meisterrisse der Ingolstädter Schreiner 1617-1742, Ingolstadt, Verlag Donau Courier, 1999, pp. 85-87.

H. Günther, Deutsche Architekturtheorie zwischen Gotik und Renaissance, Darmstadt, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1988.

G. Irmscher, Kölner Architektur- und Säulenbücher um 1600, Bonn, Bouvier Verlag, 1999.

E. von May, Hans Blum von Lohr am Main. Ein Bautheoretiker der Deutschen Renaissance, Strasbourg, Heitz/Mündel, 1910, pp. 71-72.

U. Thieme & F. Becker (éd.), Allgemeines Lexicon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart, "Kasemann (Kaesmann, Kasmann, Kosmann) Rutger", Leipzig, Engelmann, 19, 1926, p. 581.

P.S. Zimmermann, “Hans Vredeman de Vries und die Folgen in der Architekturlehre”, H. Borggrefe & V. Lüpkes (éd.), Hans Vredeman de Vries und die Folgen, Marburg, Jonas, 2005, pp. 91-100.