Blum, Hans

Title Ein kunstrych Buch von allerley Antiquiteten...
Imprint Zurich, C. I Froschauer, [c. 1560]
Localisation Zentralbibliothek Zürich, 3.9, 2

Ancient buildings, Orders

Transcribed version of the text


     Published in Zurich by C. Froschauer as was the treatise on columns, Ein kunstrych Buch von allerley Antiquiteten is its natural supplement. Following the example of Serlio, who, in the Regole generali (Quarto libro) of 1537 expands the account on the five orders with “gli essempi dell’antiquita”, Hans Blum felt the need to present parallels of antique examples and the five theoretical models. The antique examples bring a whole range of variants, as morphological as decorative, to the grammatical paradigms. Reference to ruins is fully indicated by the landscape introduced in the architecture on the title page: the image, signed with the monogram HB, is obviously fundamentally inspired by the title page of Serlio’s Terzo libro (1540), given its composition with ruins made popular by Léonard Théry’s engravings (and those of others), which Androuet du Cerceau repeated in 1550 in his Duodecim fragmenta structurae veteris. A book of antique structures, the kunstrych Buch was inspired by Serlio, but it supplements the information with illustrations coming probably from sketchbooks circulating in Germany. The presentation is innovative because added to geometral elevations are views in perspective in the style of the studies in the Codex Coner. Blum eliminated the Tuscan order, for there are no examples in Roman ruins of that order clearly different from the Doric order. On the other hand, for the Doric order, he expanded the classic alternative between the two most important ruins, the Æmilia basilica and the theater of Marcellus. The basilica entablature, presented in perspective with its architrave with two fasciae, the bucranes and the paterae of its frieze and the mutules of its cornice, appears in folio A3. Nevertheless Blum combines this entablature with an original capital, closer to a “composite” model by Serlio, than to the antique edifice, with a high moulding decorated with leaves. For the theater of Marcellus, which we recognize in the following leaf, the German author takes the liberty of replacing the cone-shaped guttae of the original with small bell-shaped guttae. Further on, he proposes an entablature with triglyph-consoles inspired by a door in the Quarto libro (f. 27). Next come several models of entablatures without triglyph or metope. The author stipulates that they could be used with Ionic columns. Other details, capitals, frames and impost mouldings appear in the following pages.
     For the Ionic and the Corinthian, Blum goes back to a large plate spread over two pages (a double page, folded, in the later editions) with a theoretical model borrowing elements from the two models of the treatises on the orders. This section presents theoretical variants more than antique examples: a capital with the detail of Serlio’s baluster and volute with six centers, a simpler version with four centers and two revolutions, with a capital lacking a cushion, an entablature with a convex frieze, a cornice with Ionic modillions (copied from the temple of Saturn), a variation with a flat frieze ans a cornice with modillions or dentil, and an architrave with two or three fasciae. In folio D appears an entablature with an architrave with two fasciae, a convex frieze and modillions in parallelepiped form, overlapping, copied from the Hadrianeum. For the Corinthian, after a diagram of the construction of the abacus and the large plate, Blum adds several models of entablatures with dentil, modillions, dentil and modillions, as well as the cornice of the temple of Serapis. Blum treats the composite more quickly, and he, like Serlio, concludes with rules on the superposition of the orders. An erudite supplement to the treatise on the columns (although antique buildings are rarely named), with a longer text, the book was republished three times by Froschauer before his heir Bodmer published composite editions joining Blum’s two treatises to a series of antique engravings by Rudolph Wyssenbach. On the other hand, unlike the Saülenbuch, it was never translated and its impact on European architecture was much more limited.

Yves Pauwels (Centre d’études supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours) – 2012


Critical bibliography

E. Forssman, Säule und Ornament. Studien zum Problem des Manierismus in den nordischen Säulenbücher und Vorlageblättern des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts, Stockholm/Uppsala, Almqvist & Wiksell, 1956, pp. 75-79.

G. Germann, “Les contraintes techniques dans l’illustration des livres d’architecture du XVe au XVIIIe siècle”, J.-M. Leniaud and B. Bouvier (eds.), Le livre d’architecture XVe-XXe siècle. Édition, représentations et bibliothèques, Paris, École des Chartes, 2002, pp. 92-106.

H. Günther, Deutsche Architekturtheorie zwischen Gotik und Renaissance, Darmstadt, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1988, pp. 140-145.

A. Ruf, Die Säulenbücher des Meisters Hans Blum aus Lohr am Main 1550-1560, Lohr am Main, Geschichts- und Museumsverein Lohr am Main, 2006.

E. von May, Hans Blum von Lohr am Main. Ein Bautheoretiker der Renaissance, Strasbourg, Heitz & Mündel, 1910.