Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Motifs of Understated Architecture II


Tuscany architecture

Tuscan engraving by Dietterlin

Dietterlin Tuscana

1598 Tuscan architectural fantasy

Tuscany engraving 1598

Tuscana by Dietterlin 1598

Ionic architectural style

Ionic engraving by Dietterlin

Ionic engraving 1598

Tuscan column architecture in mannerist/baroque style

Mannerist Tuscan architecture

Mannerist Ionic Architecture

Dietterlin Ionic mannerism

Ionic style by Dietterlin 1598

Engraving by Dietterlin of mannerist ionic architecture

Ionic in baroque

Doric in German Baroque 1598

Doric engraving

Doric style in mannerism

Doric forms in mannerist style

Doric engraving by Dietterlin 1598 - baroque
[click to enlarge]

Wendel Dietterlin (1550-1599) was born in Konstanz in southern Germany but moved to the (then) autonomous Strasbourg district where he obtained citizenship during his twenties. Much of the online information seems sketchy both because of scarcity and also dubious translations.

Dietterlin is said to have trained as a painter under Philipp Memberger in Konstanz and may have received building/architectural instruction in Suttgart. His major trade appears to have been fresco painter but he was obviously well schooled in the art of engraving.

Beyond that I think I'll leave the commentary to Harry Francis Mallgrave : 'The Millard J. Millard Architectural Collection, III: Northern European Books (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1998) p. 25ff., nos. 28-29' [link or here] -

“One of the most interesting and important architectural works of sixteenth-century northern Europe is the ‘Architectura von Ausstheilung, Symmetria und Proportia der fünff Seulen’ of Dietterlin... [Dietterlin’s] artistic fame and influence was unparalleled in Germany in the first two decades of the seventeenth-century, and in this respect and others, his significance, especially in his dissemination of Renaissance decorative forms in Germany, parallels and even transcends that of Vredeman in the Netherlands.... What makes Dietterlin’s decorative style so unique and important for architecture is twofold: first, the very high artistic quality of the 203 engraved plates; and second, the way in which the painter (as he identifies himself on the title-page) attempts to interpret the Vitruvian and Serlian tradition of classical architecture in a private, lively, and imaginative style that was, as one of his earlier biographers phrased it, ‘almost impressionistic,’ if not a forerunner to the German baroque.

Dietterlin, in effect, mediates or filters the tradition of Vitruvius or Serlio through such column books as that of Blum, but even here important distinctions or departures are already in evidence.... Each of the five books is devoted to one order and iconographic theme based on the Vitruvian explanation of its origin. Each book begins with plates relating the order’s basic geometry or proportions, before passing to its decorative appurtenances with a lively if not sometimes nightmarish sensitivity. Terror and dementia are sometimes the impressions evoked by these images, as Dietterlin combines architectonic, human and animal forms with a pre-Piranesian sense of fantasy and humor that is unparalleled within the architectural literature of this time. There is scarcely a distinction in his forms between what is organic or inorganic, as walls, portals and windows breathe with empathetic life. Humanist architecture for Dietterlin is entirely corporeal, moving, and animate.... The technical or artistic execution of the plates also elevates the book above any other northern treatise of the sixteenth century, but this achievement is so self-evident to the reader that it is scarcely worth noting.”

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