Philandrier, Guillaume

Title In decem libros M. Vitruvii Pollionis de architectura annotationes...
Imprint Rome, G. A. Dossena, 1544
Localisation Heidelberg, Ruprecht-Karls Universitätsbibliothek, T 370 Res
Subject Architecture, Orders
Transcribed version of the text


     The humanist Guillaume Philandrier, who had accompanied the Bishop of Rodez, Georges d’Armagnac, during his diplomatic missions to Venice (1536-1539) and Rome (1540- 1545), published his Annotationes on Vitruvius’ De Architectura in Rome at the print shop of Giovanni Andrea Dossena in 1544. The book resulted from his Italian experience. In Venice, Sebastiano Serlio himself had initiated the humanist, a philologist and scholar, in architecture and he became abreast with the most modern knowledge. The neophyte even proved to be advanced enough as early as that period to propose a personal interpretation of a passage of Vitruvius’ book IV (IV, 6, [9] = Lemerle 2000, pp. 201-202) which Serlio did not take into account in his Regole generali d’architetura published in 1537. For then Philandrier was reading the antique treatise in conjunction with the Bishop of Rodez, an accomplished man of letters himself (1552, dedication to Cardinal d’Armagnac). It was probably as early as that period that the philologist originated the project of a commentary on the De architectura in the form of brief annotations with corrections as he had already done for Quintilian in 1535 (Castigationes, atque annotationes pauculæ in XII libros institutionum M. Fab. Quintiliani, specimen quoddam futurorum in eosdem commentariorum, Lyon, 1535). He visited the city of the Doges, haunted her workshops where he observed color manufacturing and did not fail to go see the nearby ruins at Verona and Pola, in that way gaining tremendous erudition. After a short stay in Paris, he crossed the mountains again in 1540 and spent the year traveling through Italy before reaching Rome. At the court of Paul III he spent time with Antonio and Giovan Battista da Sangallo, both interested in the theoretical problems caused by reading the De architectura. As in the Republic of Venice, Philandrier was in contact with the intellectual elite, Angelo Colocci and Marcello Cervini (the future pope Marcellus II). He was a member of the Accademia della Virtù founded by Claudio Tolomei, who decided during the winter of 1540-1541 to devote his books to antique architecture and to Vitruvius’ treatise. There Philandrier mixed with remarkable individuals, as well as young Vignola, in charge of measuring Roman antique monuments for the assembly. Philandrier’s publication made Tolomei’s project for a commented edition of Vitruvius obsolete. If Philandrier made very good use of the biweekly sessions at the Roman academy, devoted in large part to reading the De architectura, this activity had not drawn to a close in 1544, and the academy interrupted its work for good after Tolomei left in October, 1545. Nor did the Sienese have time for successful completion of the other component of his ambitious program : the study and publication of Roman antiquities. And yet it was during this same period that young Pirro Ligorio, who was also developing in the Farnese ambiente, devoted a large part of his activity to archeological vestiges. Philandrier quickly became friends with the Neopolitan Ligorio and learned a great deal from his friend (V, 3= Lemerle 2011, p. 72), visiting Rome and its vicinity with him, especially Tivoli.
Philandrier’s work consists of Latin commentary on the antique text in the form of notes distributed in books and chapters. The brief annotations, in italics, are preceded by extracts by Vitruvius written in capital letters, and are strung together in a rather inelegant format. Philandrier also corrects the text of the edition of the De architectura that he is using (as it happens, the Florentine edition of 1522), which seems corrupt to him, proceding in the same way that he had done for Quintilian a few years earlier. The Digression on the five orders that he adds to book III (Digressio utilissima, qua Philander universam columnationis & trabeationis rationem pro vero subsequentis capitis tertii intellectu, diligentissime explicat), a synthesis of the preceding theoreticians and the result of his own reflections on antique models constituted a major theoretical advance compared to Serlio (whose principle of the five orders he retains) without which it is hardly possible to understand Vignola’s Regola. It is regrettable that the small format (octavo) does not allow more beautiful illustrations, in particular for the orders in the Digression. The book ends with the indices rerum, Greek and Latin, preceded by the errata.
This first version of the Annotationes was reissued the following year, in 1545, in Paris by both Jacques Kerver et Michel Fezandat. The remaindered books dated 1544 were sold to the Venitian printer Giordano Zileto who put them back on the market in 1577 with a new title page and his own preface which he substituted for Dossena’s (Iordanus Ziletus studiosis s.).
In his annotated edition of Vitruvius published in 1550 Georges Messerschmidt drew on Philandrier’s Annotationes, as well as the dedication to François I and the Vie de Vitruve. Adding to Philandrier’s illustrations, he took engravings from preceding editions of Giocondo and Cesariano.
Philandrier published a very fine revised and enlarged version at the print shop of Jean de Tournes in Lyon in 1552.

Frédérique Lemerle Centre national de la recherche scientifique,
Centre d’études supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours) – 2013

Critical bibliography

P. De La Mare, De vita, moribus, et scriptis Guillelmi Philandri Castilionii, Civis Romani Epistola, (Dijon), 1667.

B. Ebhardt, Vitruvius : die zehn Buecher der Architektur des Virtuv und ihre Herausgeber. Mit einem Verzeichnis der vorhandenen Ausgaben und Erlaüterungen, Berlin, Burgverlag, 1918 (reed. : New York, Salloch, 1962).

F. Lemerle, “Genèse de la théorie des ordres : Philandrier et Serlio”, Revue de l’art, 103, 1994, p. 33-41.

F. Lemerle, “Philandrier et le texte de Vitruve”, Mélanges de l’École française de Rome – Italie et Méditerranée, 106, 1994-2, p. 517-529.

F. Lemerle, Les Annotations de Guillaume Philandrier sur le De Architectura de Vitruve, Livres I à IV, Introduction, translation and commentary, Paris, Picard, 2000.

F. Lemerle, Guillaume Philandrier, Les Annotations sur l’Architecture de Vitruve, Livres V à VII, Introduction, translation et commentary, Paris, Garnier, 2011.

F. Lemerle, “Philandrier et Giocondo”, Giovanni Giocondo umanista, architetto e antiquario, a cura di P. Gros & P. N. Pagliara, Venice, Marsilio, 2015, pp. 185-194.

P. Maruéjouls, Étude biographique sur le cardinal d’Armagnac 1500-1585, unpublished thesis, l’École des Chartes, defended in 1896 (2 vols.), Rodez, Société des lettres, sciences et arts de l’Aveyron.

P. N. Pagliara, “Vitruvio, da testo a canone”, S. Settis (ed.), Memoria dell’antico nell'arte italiana, III, Turin, Einaudi, 1986, pp. 67-74.

G. Poleni, Exercitationes Vitruvianæ primæ..., Padua, G. Manfrè, 1739-1741, pp. 46-49.