Author(s) Androuet du Cerceau, Jacques
Title « Moyens temples »
Imprint Orléans, 1550
Localisation Paris, Binha, 4° Res 85 (1)
Subject Roman antiquities


     Whereas the "Petits temples" and the "Grands temples" go back to the same edifices or projects for monuments in different sizes, the "Moyens temples" make up an original series, supposed to represent antique edifices often named on the engraving, like for example the Pantheon ("Interior orthographia Panthei nunc Mariae Rotundae") or the temple of Vesta ("Templum Vestae Ro[mae]"). Contrary to the copy in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (Ed. 2c), the present collection does not mention the inscription "temple de Bacchus", in other words the church Sainte-Constance. As in Serlio's Terzo libro, a few contemporary buildings are interspersed among the antique ones, such as Bramante's Tempietto in San Pietro in Montorio and a project of a façade for Saint Peter's which is very close to a drawing attributed to Raphaël (New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, Codice Mellon, f. 72r°).
Several other compositions, although explicitly dedicated to some god or other, are clearly the fruit of Androuet du Cerceau's imagination. The antique Rome which he represents is obviously ideal, indeed fanciful: like Pirro Ligorio, and later, Giovanni Montano, Du Cerceau worked less as an archaeologist than as a poet, representing the monuments of an Urbs to be more dreamlike than real. This point of view became entirely more extensive with the Édifices romains antiques of 1584, as they were overtly inspired by Pirro Ligorio's famous plan of Rome.

Yves Pauwels (Centre d'études supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours) – 2009

Critical bibliography

H. von Geymüller, Les Du Cerceau. Leur vie et leur œuvre d’après les nouvelles recherches, Paris/London, Rouam/Wood & Co, 1887, pp. 195, 307.

F. Lemerle, "Jacques Androuet du Cerceau et les antiquités", Journal de la Renaissance, 2, 2004, pp. 135-144.

A. Linzeler, Inventaire du fonds français. Graveurs du seizième siècle, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, 1932, 1, pp. 56-57.

G. Scaglia, "Fantasy Architecture of Roma antica", Arte Lombarda, XVth year, second semester 1970, pp. 9-14.

D. Thomson, "Du Cerceau and Hollywood", L. Golden (ed.), Raising the Eyebrow : John Onians and World Studies, An Album Amicorum in his Honour, Oxford, Archaeopress, 2001, pp. 301-307.