Author(s) Bosse, Abraham
Title Des ordres de colonnes...
Imprint Paris, A. Bosse, 1664
Localisation Paris, Ensba, 188 A 7
Subject Orders


     The collection Des ordres de colonnes is the second component of the two-part work on the orders. In the first (Traité des manieres de dessiner les ordres)Bosse had dealt with their various parts or elements and of their proportions, with the spaces between columns, staircases and with the way to represent buildings. Here Bosse devotes twenty plates to them, seventeen plates in the first printing (A-R), adding three new plates in 1671 (S-V) (RIBA 337). The entablature of each model is one-fourth the height of the column, the proportion which was considered the most harmonious (A). The following six engravings illustrate the five orders (B-G). As in Vignola there are two models for the Doric order : the first has a fluted base “recently found on the Doric of the Coliseum” – however, drawn by Serlio (Il terzo libro, 1540, f. 69);the other shaft is smooth and with an attic base. One must point out the Ionic oval volute as in the Traité des manieres de dessiner les ordres. Next Bosse adds ornamentations for Ionic and Corinthian friezes taken from celebrated antique examples and recalls Palladio’s and Vignola’s methods for diminishing shafts (H-I). Lastly he explains how to draw the profiles of some moldings and ornaments like eggs with a compass (K) and devotes two plates to drawing some “Ionic volutes and others”, more virtuoso than practical for the practitioner (L-M). The collection ends on a series of figures not really linked to the orders: drawings of oval figures, rampant round arches and spheres (N-V).
The Traité des manieres de dessiner les ordres, bound with Des ordres de colonnes and the Représentations géométrales was reprinted three more times, in 1684, 1688 and a last time at the beginning of the 18th century.

Frédérique Lemerle (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique,
Centre d’études supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours) – 2013

Critical bibliography

A. Blum, L’œuvre gravé d’Abraham Bosse, Paris, Morancé, 1924.

G. Duplessis, “Catalogue de l’œuvre de Abraham Bosse”, Revue universelle des arts, Paris, 1859.

S. Join-Lambert & M. Préaud (eds.), Abraham Bosse savant graveur, Tours, vers 1604-1676, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France/Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours, Paris/Tours, 2004, p. 271.

F. Lemerle, “Les livres d’architecture du graveur Abraham Bosse”, J.-P. Garric, É. d’Orgeix & E. Thibault (eds.), Le livre et l’architecte, Wavre, Mardaga, 2011, pp. 172-179.

F. Lemerle, “Ordres et proportions dans la tradition vitruvienne (XVe-XVIIe siècles)”, S. Rommevaux, P. Vendrix & V. Zara (eds.), Proportions. Science–Musique–Peinture & Architecture, Turnhout, Brepols, 2012, pp. 409-423.

R.-A. Weigert, Inventaire du fonds français. Graveurs du XVIIe siècle, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, 1939, 1, pp. 471-534.