Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Architecture of Fantasy II

Twee verticale trofeeën

Twee verticale compartimenten met harnassen

Vier verticale trofeeën

vertical trophies with cannons

doublet of musical blazon trophies

Cartouche with heart shaped calligraphy

Cartouche with calligraphy

ornamental calligraphy

Trapeziumvormige vlakdecoratie

Trapeziumvormige vlakdecoraties met grotesken

trapezoidal decorations with grotesques, garlands and trophies

Rechthoekige cartouche

Rechthoekige cartouche omgeven door moreskentitel

Cartouche met grotesken, middenonder staat een kindtitel

Ovale cartouche met Venus


Cartouche Fragments

Twee fonteinentitel

Known in the lowland countries as the 'King of Architects', Hans Vredeman de Vries [aka Johan Frisio] (~1527-~1606) apprenticed in his native Friesland as a painter before travelling widely in the Holy Roman Empire, partly as a result of religious persecution. He was most active in Antwerp, Liège, Wolfenbüttel, Hamburg, Danzig, Prague and The Hague.

De Vries' interest in architecture developed from studying and copying the works of Serlio and Vitruvius, augmented by a commission he received to complete another artist's unfinished painting on perspective. These themes of classical architecture and perspective dominated De Vries' design work, which belongs more in the realm of theoretical rather than practical architecture. He was responsible for the construction of a few modest buildings, a number of triumphal arches for ceremonial entries of royal dignitaries and he worked as a fortification surveyor-architect at one stage; but it was his innovative design sketches that proved to be most influential.

Although de Vries is thought not to have visited Italy, his purely ornamental designs - borrowed from classical antiquity - for vases, furniture, scrolls, grotesques and trophies, constituted an inventory of Renaissance decoration and served as an important conduit for the Italian styles to be disseminated throughout northern Europe. The motifs were cast in the fantasy Mannerist style, as was the custom of the day, and, combined with de Vrie's rich inventiveness - anticipating themes of Baroque decoration - the ornamental designs are particularly notable for straddling, or at least linking, all three major artistic traditions: Renaissance, Mannerist and Baroque styles.

The majority of de Vries' sketches were engraved by other people - Gerard de Jode, Hieronymus Cock, Phillip Galle, Hendrik Hondius - in a variety of cities and printshops, thereby laying the foundation for their widespread copying and circulation. Collections of these prints were intended as instructional models for artists and architects but the motifs could be adapted by goldsmiths, tapestry makers or sculptors. The assembly of images in this post and the previous entry are intentionally skewed towards the decorative studies; but in truth, de Vries' two volume treatise on perspective and his more formal works on orders and details of architecture had the more lasting influence in northern and central European (and even British) architectural circles.


Karla said...

Ayiyi, the horror vacui is upon us! I could see from the reproductions in Artstor that he liked to get in plenty of decoration, but these go way beyond what I found there. Those first few of the military regalia give me the sensation that everything is exploding and flinging shrapnel (although sort of like the Rods cards in some Tarot decks). Maybe we could have some more of those relatively peaceful tomb effigies?

Then again, maybe it will all calm down for me after I digest my mysteriously delayed non-breakfast.

Anonymous said...

Wonderfully excessive stuff: many thanks for posting it.

ken_n_arch said...

I have [Fontium Puteorumque Iconicae Delineations] by Vredeman de Vries,
Also [Architectura] by Dietterlin.
Both are very imaginative and images in following page.

It is Japanese site.

peacay said...

Thanks ken_n_arch. Nice blog you have there too!

Curran said...

does anyone know what the inscription on the 6th one from the top says?

peacay said...

That's a good question Curran and I *think* I have an answer..

The verse is from the Bible: Proverbs 13 [see here] beginning with the words Egestas et ignominia (I deduce this from some of the notes at the Rijksmuseum)

So it translates as...

"Poverty and shame to him that refuses instruction: but he that yields to reproof shall be glorified. The desire that is accomplished, delights the soul: fools hate them that flee from evil things. He that walks with the wise, shall be wise: a friend of fools shall become like to them."

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