Author(s) Vredeman de Vries, Jan
Vredeman de Vries, Paul
Hondius, Hendrik
La haulte & fameuse science, consistante en cincq manieres d’edifices ou fabriques...
Imprint The Hague, H. Hondius, 1606
Localisation Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, V- 1996 (Gallica)
Subject Orders
Transcribed version of the text


     La haulte & fameuse science, consistante en cinq manieres d’edifices ou fabriques... was published by the Dutch publisher Hendrik Hondius in 1606. In the introduction Hans Vredeman de Vries and his son Paul, define architecture as the architect's science. They are referring to Cesare Cesariano and Vitruvius. They also underline the importance that knowledge of geometry, optics, arithmetic and the sciences such as medecine, music and astronomy takes on. Exceptional attention is paid to "symmetry" in the way that Vitruvius uses this term: "Symmetry is the appropriate agreement of all the elements of the work itself". To begin with, each column order is defined in terms of dimensions, inspired for the most part by Vitruvius, but also by Serlio's Quarto libro, particularly for the composite capitals. The description of the Tuscan order is followed by a "Préface au lecteur" written by Hondius where we read that "Iean Vredeman Frison" was the creator of the buildings represented in perspective and that it took him no less than forty years to manage to master that science. Thirteen plates representing the elevations and the details of the five orders of columns come next; then a short description of the four kinds of proportions that must be given to columns according to their position relative to the wall: separate, attached, three-quarter projecting and flanked by pilasters having bases and capitals. A collection of seventeen engravings follows, of which five represent interior scenes decorated with the five orders put in relation with the five senses: Tuscan for sight, Doric for hearing, Ionic for smell, Corinthian for taste and composite for touch. The book was published in Dutch in 1606. The French edition was reissued afterward under the title Les cinq rangs de l’architecture (1617, 1620, etc.) and with the Fortification by Marolois (1638, 1651, etc.).

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

Critical bibliography

P. Fuhring & G. Luijten (ed.), Hollstein’s Dutch & Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts 1450-1700, Vredeman de Vries 1555-1571, 48, 2, Rotterdam, Sound & Vision Interactive, 1997, p. 231.

L. Konecny, "Paul Vredeman de Vries, the Five Senses and the Five Architectural Orders", H. Borggrefe & V. Lüpkes (ed.), Hans Vredeman de Vries und die Folgen, Marburg, Jonas Verlag, 2005, pp. 152-160.

N. M. Orenstein, Hendrick Hondius and the Business of Prints in Seventeenth-Century Holland (Studies in Prints and Printmaking, 1), Rotterdam, Sound & Vision Interactive, 1996.

P. S. Zimmermann, Die Architectura von Hans Vredeman de Vries. Entwicklung der Renaissancearchitektur in Mitteleuropa, Munich/Berlin, Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2002, pp. 76-81.