Fréart de Chambray, Roland
Errard, Charles
Jombert, Charles-Antoine

Parallèle de l’architecture, antique avec la moderne... Nouvelle edition, augmentée... par Charles Antoine Jombert...
Imprint Paris, C.-A Jombert, 1766
Localisation Paris, Ensba, 22614
Subject Orders
Transcribed version of the text


     The new edition of the Parallèle prepared by Charles-Antoine Jombert in 1766 is the fourth of the six parts of his “Bibliothèque portative d’architecture élémentaire à l’usage des artistes”, after Vignola’s, Palladio’s and Scamozzi’s treatises. It consists of the “Avertissement du libraire” which justifies the choice of the work “in spite of the considerable expense” undertaken in order to keep the promises in the prospectus announcing the publication. The choice of the small format (quarto) is unquestionably detrimental to a clear presentation of the orders. The complete text is not always on the page opposite the plate illustrating it, thus there is a random arrangement of the plates, placed at the right on even-numbered pages and on the left on odd-numbered pages. Some words had to be deleted to keep them from running over to the next page (p. 27). Blank pages were inserted to maintain a certain consistency in the presentation.
The edition is “enlarged” because Charles-Antoine Jombert added the models of Errard and Perrault, presented in parallel for each order, to the theoretician’s models proposed by Chambray. Errard had once planned them for a reissue of the Parallèle which never saw the light of day. In the first part devoted to the Greek orders, after the parallel established between Errard and Perrault, come the models of pedestals by Palladio, Scamozzi, Serlio and Vignola, all presented on the same plate. Then come the pedestals by Cataneo, Viola, Bullant and De l’Orme on another plate, taken from Jollain’s edition (1689), probably through the undated intermediary of the edition of his father Claude Jombert and the Barbou brothers (between 1717 and 1732). The text accompanying it is new. Then come the models of the pedestals of Errard and Perrault. The antique models following the theoretical ones in the original edition of 1650, are interspersed here between Errard’s models and those of the pedestals of the eight best authors.
Concerning the second part reserved for the composite and Tuscan orders, Jombert adds the models of Barbaro, Cataneo, Bullant and de l’Orme to those kept by Fréart de Chambray: Palladio, Scamozzi, Vignola and Serlio. Instead of the models of Alberti and Viola he includes those of the architect Revesio Bruti and the sculptor Giovan Battista Montano, with the excuse that Alberti had left no Tuscan model and that Viola was too close to Palladio.
The “Explication de quelques termes difficiles particulierement à l’architecture” is an enlarged overhaul of the original text in alphabetical order. Fréart de Chambray’s book presented to the public was meant to be complete and up to date (the text on the caryatids was entirely revised, pp. 61-62). But the Parallèle of 1766 has nothing in common with the 1650 edition; it is a distant caricature of it.

Frédérique Lemerle (Centre national de la recherche scientifique,
Centre d'études supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours) – 2011

Critical bibliography

R. Fréart de Chambray, Parallèle de l’architecture antique avec la moderne (Paris, 1650), Critical edition prepared by F. Lemerle, followed by l’Idée de la perfection de la peinture, edition prepared by M. Stanic, Paris, École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, 2005.

F. Lemerle, "Fréart de Chambray: les enjeux du Parallèle", XVIIe siècle, 196, 1997, pp. 419-453.

F. Lemerle, "Une querelle des Anciens et des Modernes en architecture: Fréart de Chambray", Travaux de Littérature, XII, 1999, pp. 37-47.

F. Lemerle, "À l’origine du palladianisme européen : Pierre Le Muet et Roland Fréart de Chambray", Revue de l'art, 178, 2012-4, pp. 43-47.

F. Lemerle, "Le Parallèle et l’Idée", É. Lavezzi (ed.), Lectures de l’Idée de la perfection de la peinture, forthcoming.