Salomon De Bray's Architectura Moderna: Biography and Manifesto
‘Hendrick de Keyser was for our country what a Leon Baptista Alberti was for Italy, Pierre Lescot for France and Inigo Jones for England - the initiator of the improved mode of architecture, in accordance with the proportions of the ancients (as far as they were then known) and adapted to Vitruvius.’1 Kramm could make this utterance in 1836 by sole virtue of the authority of Salomon de Bray, who came to the same conclusion, in a less succinct formulation, in Architectura Moderna (1631). The significance of this judgment lies in de Bray's position as virtually the only one of his contemporaries to see in Hendrick de Keyser an important renovator of Dutch architecture (p. 7). Van Mander, Buchelius, Gerbier, Hooft, Vondel, Jan Vos and later writers like Gerard de Lairesse speak and write of de Keyser as a sculptor of genius, but they barely mention his accomplishments as an architect.2 Nor is that all. Architectura Moderna was the first original treatise on architecture written in Dutch since Hans Vredeman de Vries' publications. There is reason enough to suppose that de Bray, writing a biography of Hendrick de Keyser, seized the opportunity to construct, for the benefit of the rulers and officials of Holland, a theoretical foundation for architecture and for the position of the architect, in particular. This would also explain the dual nature of the book, which is at one and the same time a biography of de Keyser and a manifesto for modern architecture. The scheme is original in more than one respect. The treatises of Serlio and Vignola - available in Holland also in translations (Pieter Coecke van Aelst) and adaptations (Hans Bloem, Hans Vredeman de Vries) - are put together quite differently.3 The essence of these treatises is the system of the five orders, which are illustrated with examples from Roman antiquity and the Italian 15th and 16th centuries. They were intended first and foremost for architects and stonemasons, and are geared to practice. Architectura Moderna too has a theoretical section, with illustrations of a number of buildings to underscore its points. The extensive ‘To the Reader,’ however (p. 1-5), is no tractate on the orders but a plea for architecture as ‘konstige Bouwinge,’ i.e. construction based on mathematical regularity. The plates are drawn not from ancient architecture, but from ‘the buildings of this, our age [because] to my mind the Forms of the Ancients can be utilized rightly and well, and with excellent reason, as adornment and ennoblement, but to imitate each and very one of her building forms is, as I have said, unfeasible and impractical’ (p. 11). De Bray chose his title, Architectura Moderna ofte Bouwinghe van onsen tyt (Architectura Moderna or Architecture of our age), in deliberate contrast to that of Vredeman de Vries' magnum opus, Architectura, Oder Bauung der Antiquen auss dem Vitruvius (1577). It is this that gives Architectura Moderna, as distinct from the translations of Serlio, Vignola, Scamozzi and Palladio, its uniqueness: it was written with the intention of acquainting the civic governments of Holland with a new way of building - oriented to Vitruvius and the Italian theoreticians, but, in the work of Hendrick de Keyser, adapted in form to Dutch habits of building.4
De Bray's intention to make more of his Architectura Moderna than a mere description of Hendrick de Keyser's buildings is apparent even in his introduction, which is nothing more or less than a closely constructed and well documented declaration of policy for architecture. Following Vitruvius (and the Italian theorists from Alberti on), de Bray speaks of architecture as a ‘konstige Bouwinghe,’ as a science with fixed laws and founded on proportion and harmony.5 In his attempt to demonstrate the ‘antiquity,’ ‘truth or certainty’ and ‘worthiness’ of architecture in that sense, he arrives at some surprising positions. The high aspirations of architecture are ultimately by founded on the authority of Scripture: de Bray names as archetypes the monumental, divinely inspired works of Noah, Moses and Solomon, and contrasts them to the works of the Greeks and Romans.
De Bray must have come to this conclusion with the help of Villalpando and especially Philibert de l'Orme, who announces in his treatise of 1567 a theory of proportions revealed directly by God to man. De Bray's statements come suspiciously close to de l'Orme's conclusion: ‘venant à conclusion, vous pouvez par ce petit narré colliger, comme la dignité, origine & excellence d'Architecture est venue de Dieu, & du Ciel, sans en faire plus grand discours ne m'arrester à un Dedalus (lequel on dit avoir esté auteur & inventeur des premieres loges & maisons faictes de charpenterie...).’6
In his investigation into the origins (hare Bardtheijdt) of architecture de Bray establishes a sharp distinction between ‘ordinary and common carpentry’ and ‘decorative and artful [construction], containing all aspects of architecture at once’ (p. 2). Quoting Genesis 3:21, ‘Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them,’
Fig. 1. Variant of the foreportal of the Delft Town Hall (ad Pl. XXXVII, Arch. Mod.)
de Bray wonders aloud ‘why this art [i.e. architecture] too, as well as that of pelting and dressing, should not have come to the children of Adam from God, or at least have been made known to the Forefathers through a special revelation’ (p. 1). The construction of Noah's ark, the Ark of the Covenant and the Temple of Solomon not only prove the great antiquity of architecture, but also its biblical origins. With the help of Flavius Josephus, and borrowing heavily from Villalpando's computations and reconstructions, de Bray tries to show that it was the great biblical architects and not the Greeks who invented the instruments of construction (saw, axe) as well as the Corinthian capital and the Corinthian order.7
De Bray substitutes biblical figures for the mythological ones of the Greek historians: for Amphion and Orpheus, Jubal and Tubal-cain; for Dedalus and Callimachus, Bezaleel and Aholiab. This is a direct undermining of Vitruvius and his followers of the Italian Renaissance, for whom the authority of classical antiquity was unchallengeable.8
De Bray continues with a discussion of the ‘truth or certainty’ (waerheijdt of gewisheyt)
of architecture, which can only be attained by building upon a theoretical substructure. His thesis that true architecture brings together the work of the carpenter, bricklayer and stonemason is borrowed from Serlio and, more directly, from a definition by Hans Vredeman de Vries; it should not be interpreted as a reflection of everyday practice in the Amsterdam ‘stee-fabrique’ (department of public works).9
The ‘truth’ of architecture lies in Necessitas (need) and Ratio (reason), concepts that answer more or less precisely to the distinction between ‘ordinary and common carpentry’ and ‘decorative and artful construction.’ The incentive to build, the overall groundplan and general division of the structure are born out of need (protection, isolation); dispositio, symmetria
, on the other hand, are the original contribution of human reason, following the example of nature. The five orders are nothing but codified variants of the rules invented by various peoples at different times. The ‘truth’ of ‘artful architecture’ is ordained by Scripture: de Bray cites the locus classicus, (Exodus 35:31): ‘And he hath filled him [Bezaleel] with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; and to devise curious works.’ Behind the use of this verse lay a train of thought first formulated by Francesco Giorgio in his pamphlet De harmonia mundi totius
(Venice 1525), where the proportions of the buildings described in the Old Testament are analyzed in the hope of deriving their dectated numerical ratios.10
The theme is picked up by Philibert de l'Orme and later by Scamozzi.11
In this instance, however, de Bray resorted directly to Villalpando's In Ezechielem Explanationes
, where the divine inspiration of the architect is contrasted with the acquirable knowledge and scientific training Vitruvius demands of the architect.12
Finally de Bray comes to the ‘worthiness’ (waerdigheydt) of architecture, as evidenced by the high regard enjoyed by the great architects of the past (starting with the builders of the
Fig. 2. Ground plan of an octagonal church by Hendrick Danckerts (Pl. XLV, Arch. Mod., 2d ed.)
Temple of Salomon) and especially the esteem so often showed by rulers and kings for ‘Architecture and her Constructions.’ At this point de Bray bridges the gap to the second section of his book, and ‘its subject proper,’ i.e. ‘the architecture of our time.’ At first glance it may seem new and without precedent, but it is really the same ‘old manner of building (which was established by the art-loving Popes some years ago)’ (p. 5). De Bray had just rooted the origins, authenticity and worthiness of this mode of architecture in the Bible; in Holland, he goes on to say, Hendrick de Keyser is responsible for its many-sided revival and success (p. 7). De Keyser is the first Dutchman worthy of the title ‘bouw-konstenaer’ (artist of Building). The short biography of de Keyser should also be read in this light.13 De Bray characterizes him as ‘diligent and attentive in art,’ deserving of the respect and high opinion of eminent persons, in proof of which de Bray (himself a painter) names the painters Goltzius, Abraham Bloemaert and Cornelis Ketel.14 De Bray's sketch of de Keyser comes close to Serlio's ideal architect: ‘essendo adunque tale e tanta l'importanza di questa scienza, fa bisogno, che la persona la quale si applica a questi studij, sia di molte belle qualitá, e dell'animo e del corpo...’ In this connection de Bray also praises Cornelis Danckerts for his wisdom in placing himself, as a bricklayer, under the supervision of the architect (‘since all this carpentry, bricklaying, etc. are in fact subsections of architecture, which is the head of the family to which they belong’ (p. 3). For the same reason no mention is made of the contribution of Hendrick Staets, the carpenter.15
The rest of the book, with its plates and accompanying commentary, is an eleboration of this view of de Keyser and his work. For de Bray de Keyser is an architect after Serlio's heart, a man whose powers of invention and rich imagination are his dominant attributes.16 He does not discuss all of de Keyser's works. The selection seems to be determined by de Bray's own preferences and limited by the available drawings. Most of the buildings illustrated date from de Keyser's late period, which had the greatest appeal for de Bray's strict taste. His choice of examples was also intended to serve as a model to the municipal authorities for the solution of current problems concerning projects under consideration when the book appeared. He treats three churches, three residences, one town hall, one sepulchral monument and finally a large number of portals.
As we would expect from Salomon de Bray, Architecture Moderna is a tightly structured work.17 This is evident in the ‘Short Contents of this Book’ on p. 10. Following the ‘To the Reader,’ the book splits in two: the first edition is an illustrated description of a number of Hendrick de Keyser's works, and the second those of some other architects. The first section consists of two books, dealing with buildings in Amsterdam and other cities. Book One is subdivided into Amsterdam public buildings (‘Ghemeene wercken‘) and private ones (‘bysondere wercken,’ including residences).
De Bray begins with the Zuiderkerk (Pl. I-VII). He illustrates the south façade (with projecting tower), the outside wall of the eastern side-aisle, the groundplan and a cross-section of the interior facing north.18 Plates I and II do not correspond exactly with the actual situation: the pediments on the buttresses, for example, are not to be seen today, and it remains a moot point whether they ever existed.
De Keyser's towers are the most spectacular of his Amsterdam creations. The tower of the Zuiderkerk stands nearly free from the church, like an Italian campanile. The second story of the rusticated Doric base has the well-known Serliana motif. A less obtrusive borrowing from Serlio is the alternation of short and long sandstone quoins, which accentuates the rustication of the Doric base in contrast to the Ionic upper stories. The sandstone stands out against the brick, and its function in the tower calls to mind Serlio's dictum: ‘le pietre cotte sono la carne della fabrica & le pietre vive sono le ossa, che la sostengono.’19
In commenting on de Keyser's larger buildings de Bray never fails to stress their gracious, unencumbered placing; especially the churches are placed in a ‘quite broad and airy space.’ These niceties were mentioned in every architectural treatise since Alberti.20 In contrast to
Fig. 3. Project for an octagonal church by Hendrick Danckerts (Pl. XLVI, Arch. Mod., 2d ed.)
later critics, de Bray has a word of praise for the Noorderkerk (Pl. VIII-X). He remarks on the uncrowded placing of the building, which is also ‘beautiful of itself and pleasant to look at.’ De Bray's words about the placing of the church may refer to its plan, a Greek cross, recommended by Alberti.21 By choosing a centralized groundplan for a church de Keyser gave the Protestant place of worship not only a practical but also a symbolically meaningful form.
The Westerkerk receives relatively special attention, at least in regard to the large number of illustrations (Pl. XI-XXIV).22 They include a view of the northern side-aisle with the tower, the western façade, the groundplan and a cross-section of the interior facing east. In addition are ten illustrations of the various portals. De Bray reminds the reader here, as on many other plates, that the dimensions of the originals can be calculated with the help of the scale he provides. While no precise figures are given, by a rough calculation the nave can be seen to be one-and-a-half times as wide as and equal in height to the side-aisles, while the overall height of the nave measures two-and-a-half times its width. This consciously worked out ratio of grondplan and elevation constitutes the great novelty of de Keyser's churches in comparison to the late Gothic pseudo-basilicas from which they were derived.23 De Keyser's preoccupation with the problem of ideal space, especially in the later works, is manifested in the small model of a church held by the allegorical figure of Religion on the sepulchral monument of William the Silent in Delft. The model can be considered a small-scale solution of a strictly classical structure.24 What de Bray tells us about the Westertoren - that it was to be finished according to the plans he illustrated in Architectura Moderna (Pl. XI) is true only for the lowest story, up to the balustrade. The upper story, which was probably completed in 1638, was executed in a more sober formal vocabulary. Although he illustrates no fewer than four towers in full length, de Bray somehow fails to comment on the unmistakable tendency towards greater classicism of which the design for the Westertoren is a perfect example.25
At first sight it may seem strange that de Bray reserved more than half of the plates he had at his disposal for portals, seemingly such a fancy-free mode of architecture, so independent of the rules. For de Bray, however, the portals are proof of de Keyser's ‘extraordinary inventiveness,’ the quality demanded by Serlio of architects in his Book Six (p. 15). De Bray makes selective use of Serlio's high rating of ‘imagination and inventiveness.’ The portal of the Walenkerk (Pl. XXV) is criticized for its broken architrave and the recessions in the frieze26; on the other hand, the climax of de Keyser's inventiveness, for de Bray, is the broken pilaster merging into a quater-column, on the inside of one of the portals in the Westerkerk (Pl. XVI). In his comments on the portals de Bray shows the same sharp eye for ornament-cum-display as in his words on private houses. Cleverly conceived allusions to the function of the architecture are rated highly by de Bray. He praises the Prinsenhofpoortje (Pl. XXIX) because its ‘proper placing and size’ and its ‘grand appearance’ - a reference to the dignified use of the Doric order - as well as the characteristic decoration upon and within the pediment contribute to the distinguished effect of the Prinsenhof itself.27 De Bray comes out openly for this version of decorum in his remarks on the portal of the Huis Bartolotti (Pl. XXXV B). While other portals may be ‘larger and more prominent (as they are called upon to be),’ this one is ideally fitted for its ‘bourgeois function’ by its modesty.28 In conformity with the Mannerist theory of architecture, De Bray pays particular attention to the symbolical and functional meaning of the architectural orders. This is most obvious in his commentary on one of the city gates, the Haarlemmerpoort (Pl. XXVII-XXVIII)29: ‘perfectly robust and in a rustic order, which gives it a firm appearance and a look of strength fitting for the gate of such a mighty city.’ De Bray is clearly borrowing his terms from Serlio, who wrote of the ordine rustico (tuscan order): ‘dicono adunque, che l'Opera Toscana, al parer mio, conviene alle fortezze, come sarebbe a porta di città, a rocche, a castelli, a luoghi da conservar tesori... etc.’ De Keyser had borrowed from Serlio - possibly through the medium of Hans Vredeman de Vries - the idea of combining order architecture with monumental
rustication. Serlio's interpretation of this invention is typically Manneristic: he calls it a union of the labors of nature and those of man.30
De Keyser's private hauses in Amsterdam are represented in Architectura Moderna by the house of Hans van Wely (Pl. XXXIII)31 and the houses De Dolfijn (Pl. XXXIIII)32 and De Gecroonde Raep (Pl. XXXIIII)33; only the portals are illustrated of the houses of Burgemeester de Vlamingh (Pl. XXXV A) and Bartolotti (Pl. XXXV B).34 Together with Jacob van Campen's Coymans house on the Keizersgracht, these houses are among the most distinguished of the first quarter of the 17th century. In his commentary, de Bray dwells with special feeling on the prominence of the patrons and owners of the houses. The architectural features that speak of prominence, he explains, are the exceptional dimensions (‘such that they stand higher than the neighboring houses’ (p. 19), the use of precious materials and especially the use of an order. The façade of De Dolfyn (Pl. XXXIIII), which was recently restored in its original form, is not even ten years later than the now single façade of the Proveniershuis in Haarlem, a work of the Lieven de Key circle. While de Keyser's façade is based loosely on this model, it is more logical and more organic in structure. Through the introduction of order architecture, a much more effective division in horizontals and verticals was achieved. This is what de Bray has in mind when he speaks of the ‘graceful division of the work, [which is] a lust to the eye and exceedingly pleasant’ (p. 19).
In Book Two of the first part of Architectura Moderna de Bray comes to two works of de Keyser's outside Amsterdam: the Town Hall in Delft and the sepulchral monument of William the Silent in the New Church there.
The Delft Town Hall (Pl. XXXVII-XXXVIII), which differs considerably from its representation in de Bray's book, is praised for its fine location on the ‘square and spacious piazza,’ an echo of Serlio's rule for the placing of a large house inside a city. De Bray also waxes enthusiastic over the rich detailing, the precious materials, the gilding and the use of pilasters as decoration.35 Following de Bray's advice to check the ‘dimensions of the whole and the parts,’ we come to the surprising discovery that the proportions are anything but arbitrary. Even the rectangular area of the façade shows a nearly perfect 1:2 ratio in the illustration in Architectura Moderna. Moreover, careful measurement of the buildings themselves indicates that de Keyser abided rather strictly by the proportions of the Tuscan, Ionic and Corinthian orders as prescribed by Serlio and Vignola. The same classicizing tendency can be found in the original groundplan for the piano nobile, whose overall disposition prefigures the later work of Jacob van Campen and Pieter Post.36 The sepulchral monument of William the Silent in Delft (Pl. XXXIX-XL) is perhaps the purest example of de Keyser's manneristic conception of architectural ornament.37 This may be the reason de Bray chose to illustrate it alone of de Keyser's sculptural works. In his commentary, de Bray insists on the connection between the great fame and many accomplishments of William the Silent and the rich and dignified ornamentation of his monument. Following Serlio's advice, de Keyser chose the Doric order for the monument, the order par excellence for mythical and biblical as well as historical heroes. The triumphal-arch motif and especially the four heavy obelisks signify the ‘gloria dei principi’ that is trumpeted abroad by the hovering figure of Fama. The precious, richly varied materials attest the gratitude, respect and devotion felt by all, and for all time, according to de Bray. The four allegorical figures at the corners speak of the personal merits and patriotic services of the hero: Righteousness, Might, Freedom and Religion.38
In the Supplement, or Second Section of Architectura Moderna, de Bray treats ‘a few works and Edifices of various other Masters of this present Time’ (p. 23), i.e. the sepulchral monument of Willem Lodewijk van Nassau in Leeuwarden (Pl. XLI),39 the ‘Gallery of the King of Denmark in Frederickx-burch’ (Pl. XLII),40 the house of Balthasar Coymans in Amsterdam and finally one more portal - of Thomas de Keyser. In the second printing the groundplan and elevation of H. Danckerts' ‘Octagonal Church’ were added.41
The most significant item in this selection is Jacob van Campen's house on the
Keizersgracht (Pl. XLIII). Together with de Keyser's houses and the ‘Huis met de Hoofden’ (House with the Heads; 1621), which is not included in Architectura Moderna, the Coymans house was one of the most noteworthy in Amsterdam at that moment. In the accompanying text, de Bray, pays more attention to the exact application of the order than the splendid display of the ornamentation. The overall dimensions of the façade are from the second book of Palladio, while the details were based mainly on Scamozzi and occasionally Serlio.42 There is a demonstrable shift away from Serlio's free and imaginative interpretation of the five orders in the direction of the more rigid rules of Vignola, Scamozzi and especially Palladio. There is evidence enough to assume that de Bray was aware of this shift: he warns the reader that the beauty of van Campen's façade can be too easily overlooked. This assumption gains in likelihood when we consider that Dutch architecture was undergoing a crisis in the period when de Bray - himself a practicing architect - was writing Architectura Moderna. Even during de Keyser's lifetime, there was a tendency in Amsterdam towards a stricter classicism. In de Keyser's late works, from which de Bray drew most of his examples, we notice a more stringent application of the five orders. Right around him, in the Amsterdam of the 1620's, arose buildings like the Zeerecht (1618), the Meat Hall on the Westermarkt (1617) and the rear façade of the Coymans house on the Keizersgracht, all of them successors to the exterior of the church model in the tomb monument in Delft in their sober forms, and all of them openly Doric-classicistic.43 De Bray may have been alluding to this group of works in adding Thomas de Keyser's Zeegh-Booghen (Pl. XLIIII), ‘Doric in its entirety, well divided, very handsome, and sufficiently adapted and adorned according to the manner of the Ancients’ (p. 24).
The breakthrough to Dutch classicism of the 1630's became definitive in the early works of Jacob van Campen and in the great country seats at Honselaarsdijk (1621), Rijswijk (1630) and Rhenen (Koningshuis; begun 1629). An important phase is marked by the shape and articulation of the façade of Huis ten Bosch in Maarssen (1628; possibly by Jacob van Campen), in which we found the earliest consistent application of Scamozzi's stricter rules: the form of the large central bay, the pure details of the orders and especially the large pediment.
By ending his book on Hendrick de Keyser with examples of notably sober modern works of Dutch architecture, de Bray places his subject and his work in a clear perspective. In this way he underscores his main thesis - that de Keyser can be seen as the father of Dutch architecture - and gives expression to the wish ‘that we may hope to elevate Architecture, striding forth with steps like these, to her former heights (p. 5)’.
Transl. by Gary Schwartz
* According to the ‘besluyt’ (postscript) on p. 25 of the first edition of Architectura Moderna, the Haarlem architect and painter Salomon de Bray (1597-1664) undertook to write texts accompanying the plates and a general introduction. He completed his work on December 14, 1630. The first edition appeared in the following year. It consisted of 44 plates and 25 pages of text, not counting the dedication to the burgemeesters of Amsterdam up front. P. 25 contains the besluyt (postscript, a 14-line note by de Bray) and a poem by the publisher. Complete copies of the first edition are to be found outside Holland in the British Museum, London, and the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris (the latter copy lacks the title-page). In Holland there are copies in the Print Room of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, and the University Library there. The University Library of Utrecht has a good copy, to which a handsome engraving of the organ of the Westerkerk has been added after Pl. XIV. This unsigned and undated plate, apparently of the 18th century, bears the legend: La representation de la Belle Orgue de l'Eglise du Westerkerck a Amsterdam.
De Bray finished his work on the second edition on December 14, 1640; it was published in 1641. This edition is not easily distinguished from the editio princeps at first sight, since the same title-page was used for both, with the same date, 1631. The second edition contains two additional pages of text. The last page of text is the postscript on p. 27. Moreover, two plates, XLV and XLVI, are added (fig. 2 and 3). The pagination of the second edition is two pages behind that of the first. De Bray changed little in his text. He corrected many typographical errors and made a lot of changes in the spelling. For example, in the first edition (p. 16) he writes of the Haarlemmer-poort (Pl. XXVII-XXVIII) that it is ‘geheel robust en van rustiger ordine’ (perfectly robust and in a rustic order); in the second edition (p. 18) he changes the last words to read ‘rustuken ordine.’ A small emendation of a passage on p. 5 of the first edition, ‘welcke eenighe jaren te vorens onder de Konst-lievende Pausen op de been geraeckt was’ (which was established by the art-loving Popes some years ago), was the addition of the words ‘in Italien’ (in Italy) on p. 7 of the second edition. Finally, a small change was made in the postscript, whose last sentence was now made to read, ‘Doch en heb ick oock dit weynighe (vermits mijn ghewoonlijck Konst en Werck-bekommeringh) sonder in dies te mets vermoeyt te werden, tot verre gebracht, hebbende...’ etc. (Though I have also brought this little bit [the redaction of the second edition] (besides my regular artistic and professional responsibilities) to an advanced state without taxing myself excessively, having...).
I am not altogether certain whether the small print of the foreportal of the Town Hall of Delft, which is found as a loose leaf after Pl. XXXVII, belongs only to the second edition (fig. 1). There are copies of the second edition in the architecture library of the Technische Hogeschool in Delft, the University Library of Leiden and in the library of the Rijksdienst voor de Monumentenzorg (Monument Commission in Voorburg). All of these copies contain the added print of the Delft portal. Another copy of the second edition is in the Amsterdam Municipal Archives.
The authors of the panegyrics at the beginning of the book signed themselves with mottoes, and have not yet been identified. The contents of these poems consist of the usual uninformative phrasemaking. The selection of the plates suggests strongly that they were made after original drawings by de Keyser that were still preserved, in 1631, in the Amsterdam department of public works or perhaps in de Keyser's own archives. These drawings are the hypothetical originals for the plates, made for the publisher by an unknown engraver or engravers. De Bray was responsible only for the introductory essay and the texts accompanying the plates. The scale of the illustrations varies from 1:250 for the large buildings (Zuiderkerk, Westerkerk) to approximately 1:26 for the smaller portals, e.g. those of the Zuiderkerk cemetery. The unit of measurement can be assumed to be the Amsterdam foot, which equals 28.3 cm. Here I would like to thank Prof. J.J. Terwen of Leiden for his many invaluable suggestions.
C. Kramm, ‘Levensberigt van Mr. Hendrik de Keyser,’ Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, Oudheid & Statistiek van Utrecht
, 1836, p. 7.
For an anthology of such passages, see E. Neurdenburg, Hendrick de Keyser, beeldhouwer en bouwmeester van Amsterdam
, Amsterdam n.d. , pp. 7, 144, note 43 (van Mander), 11-13 (Hooft), 13 (Buchelius and Jan Vos) and 153, note 248 (de Lairesse). The passage from Balthasar Gerbier, Eer ende Claght-Dight ter Eeren van Henricus Goltius
(ed. Aert Meurs, The Hague 1620, p. 10) has gone unnoticed: ‘Dees’ waerde Gheesten schaer, hier Hendrick is de gheen / Die zijne Tombe botst uyt witte Marmer-steen. / Henrick d'eer van ons Eeuw! die sietmet daer aen stellen / Soo menigh Constigh beeld, te langh hier te vertellen’ (Of the many able talents it was Hendrick [de Keyser] who carved his [Goltzius'] tomb of white marble. Hendrick, the glory of our age! we see you bring forth countless artful statues).
Pieter Coecke van Aelst translated and edited the Dutch edition of Serlio. No copy is known of the earliest printing of his translation of Book four (1539). A second edition appeared in 1549; Book Three first appeared in 1546. The translations of Books One, Two and Five were published after Pieter Coecke's death by his widow, Mayken Verhulst, in 1553. Later editions appeared in Amsterdam in 1606 and 1616. Pieter Coecke had also published an abridged extract from Vitruvius in 1539. See H. de la Fontaine Verwey, ‘Pieter Coecke van Aelst en de uitgaven van Serlio's architektuurboek,’ Bouwkundig Weekblad
LXXIII (1955), pp. 173-180; idem, ‘Het eerste Nederlandse boek over architectuur,’ Liber Amicorum J.P. Mieras
, Amsterdam 1958, pp. 121ff. The first Dutch translation of Vignola's order book appeared in 1617, in a combined Dutch, French and German edition. For a bibliography of the books of Hans Vredeman de Vries, see H. Mielke, Hans Vredeman de Vries. Verzeichnis der Stichwerke und Beschreibung seines Stils
etc., Berlin 1967, pp. 1-178; for a survey of northern publications on architectural theory, see E. Forssman, Säule und Ornament. Studien zum Problem des Manierismus in den nordischen Säulen-büchern und vorlageblättern des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts
, Stockholm 1956. Forssman is the first to study the text of Architectura Moderna
(pp. 204ff.). See also the review of G. Bandmann, ‘Ikonologie des Ornaments und der Dekoration,’ Jahrbuch für Asthetik und Allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft
IV (1958-59), pp. 233-258.
Le Muet's French adaptation of Palladio's order book appeared in a Dutch translation in 1646. The first edition of Scamozzi's Book Six in Dutch came out in 1640. The second edition, which was ready by 1658 and was included in the large edition of 1661, was provided with four engravings by Salomon de Bray, who also translated the Italian names for the elements of the various orders. In the 1661 edition only Books Three and Six are complete; the plates alone of the other books are included.
A. Blunt, Artistic Theory in Italy, 1400-1600
, Oxford 1940. For a concise survey of Vitruvius’ influence on architectural theory before Serlio, see W. Dinsmoor, ‘The Literary Remains of Sebastiano Serlio,’ Art Bulletin
XXIV (1942), p. 55, 155ff.
6Le premier tôme de l'Architecture
, Paris 1567, ‘Au lecteur.’ R. Wittkower, Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism
, London 19623
, p. 121; Forssman, o.c., p. 79; A. Blunt, Philibert de l'Orme
, London 1958, pp. 125ff.
7Hieronymi Pradi et Ioannis Baptistae Villalpandi e Societate Iesu in Ezechielem Explanationes et Apparatus Urbis, ac Templi Hierosolymnitani. Commentariis et imaginibus illustratus opus tribus tomis distinctum I-III
, Roma 1596-1604. Especially important for architectural theory is Part II, De postrema Ezechielis Prophetae Villalpandi Cordubensis e Societate Iesu tomi secundi explanationum pars secunda
, Roma 1604. For Pradus and Villalpandus, see R. Wittkower, ‘Federico Zuccari and John Wood of Bath,’ Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes
V (1945), p. 220.
of the discovery by Callimachus of the Corinthian capital originates with Vitruvius, and recurs thereafter in nearly all books on the five columns.
The beginning of the second chapter (p. 3), where de Bray explains the difference between a ‘Bouw-konstenaar’ (building artist; architect) and ‘Bou-Heer’ (building master) derives ultimately from Vitruvius, De Architectura
, I, 1: ‘So architects who without culture aim at manual skill cannot gain a prestige corresponding to their labours, while those who trust theory and literature obviously follow a shadow and not reality. But those who have mastered both, like men equipped in full armour, soon acquire influence and attain their purpose’ (trans. F. Granger, Loeb Classical Library). Serlio's version can be found in the ‘Discorso’ prefacing the great complete edition of his works, Tutte l'Opere d'Architettura
, Venezia 1619; Hans Vredeman de Vries speaks of the different kinds of architecture in his Architectura
Francesco Giorgi's pamphlet was introduced into the modern critical literature by Wittkower, o.c., pp. 102, 121. Giorgi's ideas are rooted in the neo-Platonism of Marsilio Ficino, whose concept of proportion, in particular, must have been deeply influenced by medieval handbooks on music theory, e.g. Boethius and Guido d'Arezzo. See i.a. P.J. Amman, ‘The Musical Theory and Philosophy of Robert Fludd,’ Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes
XXX (1967), pp. 198ff. esp. 219ff.
For Philibert de l'Orme, see A. Blunt, Philibert
...,, o.c., p. 124; the passage in Scamozzi is found in the Dutch edition, Bouwkunstige Wercken
, t'Amsterdam 1661, in Book Six, Chapter Five.
De Bray may possibly have had a copy of Villalpando in Haarlem, but it is strange in any case that van Campen should have written to Constantijn Huygens in 1634 to ask him to mediate with the diplomat Joachim Wicquefort for a copy. (The latter sent it in 1636.) If de Bray had a copy van Campen would surely have known it. Perhaps de Bray saw and studied the book in the Southern Netherlands. For the spreading of Villalpando's reputation in the Netherlands, see R. van Luttervelt, Het Raadhuis aan de Dam
, Amsterdam, n.d. (Heemkennis, Amsterdam VIII), pp. 13ff.; J. Zwarts, ‘Oud-Hollandse modellen van de Tempel van Salomo,’ Historia
IV (1938-39),, nr. 9, pp. 277ff. A hitherto unnoticed parallel is found in Balthasar Gerbier's Eer ende Claght-Dight
, p. 1, where the following names are given as examples of outstanding talent: ‘Bezaleel van den stamme Iuda, Ahaliab van den stamme Dan, sijn met de Const verrijckt, ende van den Geest Godts vervult gheweest tot des Heeren Werck. Exod. 35.30’ (Bezaleel of the tribe of Judah, Aholiab of the tribe of Dan were enriched with Art, and filled with the Spirit of God in order to perform the Work of the Lord. Exodus 35:30). The passage in Villalpando is analyzed by Forssman, o.c., p. 211.
The biographical data are not quite exact. De Keyser was born on May 13, 1565, not 1567. He was appointed master sculptor and stonemason to the city of Amsterdam on July 19, 1595. For de Keyser's various spellings of his name, see I.H. van Eeghen, ‘Henric de Keyser, Henrick de Caesar of Henrick de Caisar,’ Amstelodamum, Maandblad voor de kennis van Amsterdam
LV (1968), p. 20.
It is known that Goltzius and de Keyser collaborated on the silver drinking cup of the Haarlem Guild of St. Martin. The accounts were published by E. Voet, Haarlemsche Goud- en Zilversmeden en hunne merken
, Haarlem 1928, p. 105. De Keyser's relations with Ketel are illustrated by the many portraits Ketel painted of the architect; see H. van Hall, Portretten van Nederlandse beeldende kunstenaars
, Amsterdam 1963, p. 167.
The relations between Cornelis Danckerts, Hendrick Staets and Hendrick de Keyser were tossed about in many writings by the former generation of Dutch art historians. For a summary of the views see F.A.J. Vermeulen, Handboek tot de geschiedenis der Nederlandsche Bouwkunst
, vol. II, 's-Gravenhage 1931, pp. 261ff. Since Neurdenburg, o.c., p. 20, Architectura Moderna
has been regarded as an answer to the Kroniek van Staets
, a poem by Hendrick Staets, city carpenter (stads-timmerman)
of Amsterdam; the poem is dedicated to the burgemeesters and treasurers of the city. In any case it is certain that Architectura Moderna
was born of a conflict over the authorship of several Amsterdam buildings, a conflict which de Bray, however, wished to settle in terms of the basic issues involved, i.e. that the architect alone, and not the carpenter or mason, can be regarded as the author of a building. De Bray's position as set forth in the text is proclaimed by the title-page. The idea of using a triumphal arch comes from de Keyser's monument to William the Silent. On the socles are schematic representations of Ichnographia
(‘the use of compass and ruler on the flat surface or the groundplan of edifices’), and Orthographia
(‘an elevated view from the front’), which form, together with the three-dimensional triumphal arch, the three basic elements of architectural design. Upon the socles stand Architectura-Sculptura (invention), identified by a drawing for a projected portal, and Masonry (execution), holding a picture of the construction of a portal. In this subtle way a distinction is also drawn between the work of de Keyser and Danckerts.
The point of departure is Serlio's advice in the ‘Discorso’ to Tutte l'Opere
..., 1619: ‘habbia profondo disegno, e sia pieno di inventioni gratiose, e belle, per poter spiegare tutti i concetti dell'animo suo...’ For an introduction to Serlio's treatise, see Marco Rosci, Il trattato di Architettura di Sebastiano Serlio
, Milano 1966 (Volume abbinato al sesto Libro di Sebastiano Serlio, Cod. Icon. 189 — Bayerische Staasbibliothek — Monaco di Baviera). In 1968 a previously unknown printing of Serlio's Book Six came to light in the Nationalbibliothek in Vienna, with proofs of 62 illustrations largely corresponding to those in the manuscripts in Munich and Columbia University, New York.
De Bray's methodical mentality is well exemplified by his efforts on behalf of the reorganization of the Haarlem Guild of St. Luke. See i.a. C.J. Gonnet, ‘St. Lucas Gilde te Haarlem in 1631,’ Archief voor Nederlandsche Kunstgeschiedenis
, vol. I, Rotterdam 1877-78, p. 232.
The decision to build the Zuiderkerk was taken on January 21, 1603; after the cornerstone was laid work stagnated, however, until 1606. The walls and roof were finished in 1608. On May 26, 1611 the first church services could be held. The cemetery and tower were completed in 1614. Pediments on buttresses are also found on the façade of the baptistry on the south side of the St. Bavokerk in Haarlem, which was given its present form in 1593. For an illustration, see J.A.G. van der Steur, Oude Gebouwen in Haarlem
, Haarlem 1907, nr. 193.
The portal shown on Pls. VI-VII was taken down as early as 1675. The one on Pls. IV-V is still standing in the Anthonie Breestraat. On the lintel are carved the arms of the Masons' Guild and the Guild of St. Luke. For the place of this church in the history of Protestant church architecture in Holland, see M.D. Ozinga, De protestantsche kerkenbouw in Nederland
, Amsterdam 1929, pp. 27ff.
Serlio, o.c., vol. IV, fol. 188v
. For an analysis of the tower see Vermeulen, o.c., p. 392.
20De re aedificatoria libri X
, Book VII, Chap. 5.
Alberti treats the construction and decoration of the temple/church in Book Seven of De re aedificatoria
. See Wittkower, o.c., pp. 27ff. A groundplan and an elevation (c. 1620-1640) of a middle-sized cruciform church on the style of the Noorderkerk are preserved in the Leiden Municipal Archives. It can be described as a Greek cross without triangular connections between the arms. See J.J. Terwen, ‘De ontwerpgeschiedenis van de Marekerk te Leiden,’ Opus Musivum
, Assen 1964, pp. 231ff. See also note 41. The print in Architectura Moderna
served as the point of departure for the design of a centralized building in Symon Bosboom's Cort Onderwys van de vyf Colomen
, Amsterdam 1657, Pls. 51, 52, 53.
Models of the Westerkerk were ready in 1620; the first services were held there in 1631. In the section on portals the texts belonging to Pls. XVI and XVII are transposed, a mistake which has given birth to the mistaken theory that the portals themselves were switched. See Ozinga, o.c., p. 33. K. Fremantle, The, Baroque Town Hall of Amsterdam
, Utrecht 1959, pp. 93-96.
Vermeulen, o.c., pp. 373ff.
R. Meischke, ‘Het klassicisme van 1620-1660,’ Delftse Studiën, Assen 1967, pp. 171ff.
In addition to the towers of the Zuider- and Westerkerk, de Bray deals with the Jan Roodenpoorts-toren (Pl. XXVI A), which was dismantled in 1829, and the Haringpakkerstoren. The former did not look quite as it does in de Bray's illustration. The Reguliers- or Munttoren (Pl. XXVI B) was built on the site of one of the towers of the Regulierspoort after the latter was destroyed by fire. The tower bears the date 1620, the plate 1619, which seems to suggest that the model for the engraving was a project drawing from the Amsterdam department of public works. Not a single drawing from that source is known to have survived, however.
Remarkably enough, de Bray praises the ‘broken Architrave and projecting frieze’ of a gate in the Westerkerk (Pl. XV), calling it ‘altogether amazing and most uncommon in design.’ The portal was adapted by Symon Bosboom for his Arme Kinderen Weeshuis in Nijmegen of 1640. See E.R.M. Taverne, ‘Salomon de Bray of Symon Bosboom? Naar aanleiding van het Burger Kinderen Weeshuis te Nijmegen,’ Feestbundel F. van der Meer
, Amsterdam-Brussel 1966, pp. 160ff.
This portal was dismantled in the 18th century.
Some remarks concerning the other portals illustrated in Architectura Moderna
are in order. On Pl. XXX the portal of the Latin School is illustrated. According to Dirck van Bleyswijck, Beschrijving der Stad Delft
, vol. II, p. 558, it was built by de Keyser not in Amsterdam but in Delft. A similar portal stood in front of the Amsterdam Latin School, which was first located in the Nieuwe Zijde and later on the Singel (nr. 451). This portal bore the date 1624; a preparatory drawing for it must have served as the model for the print. See E. Neurdenburg, o.c., p. 60; R. Meischke, o.c., pp. 182ff. On Pl. XXXVIII D is an opstal
(elevation) of the portal of the Latin School. The portal on Pl. XXXII B, mainly remarkable ‘for the projections on the two foremost pillars,’ reappears on the title-page in the form of a building model held by Architectura-Sculptura. On Pl. XXXVIII, letter C is labelled ‘elevation of the portal drawn at XXXI.’ This should read ‘drawn at XXXII.’
Razed in 1838. Here too the description contains a minor inaccuracy: Pl. XXVII depicts the façade of the portal seen from inside the city, Pl. XXVIII from outside.
This house stood on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal; it has since been demolished. Hans van Wely was the mutual n friend of Goltzius and de Keyser. For the story of the murder of van Wely and its depictions in art see E. Haverkamp Begemann, Willem Buytewech
, Amsterdam 1959, pp. 190ff. In 1620 his widow had two houses built on the Herengracht, possibly by Hendrick de Keyser. See R. Meischke, Het Nederlandse woonhuis van 1300-1800
, Haarlem 1969, pp. 226-227.
Singel 140-142. Built ca. 1600; commissioned by Hendrick Laurensz. Spiegel, who left us a description of its original disposition in his poem Hertspiegel
of 1614. In 1642 it was the residence of Frans Banningh Cock, the central figure in Rembrandt's Nightwatch
of that year. The drawing of the house in the de Graeff album (Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum) gives a rather different disposition. See I.H. van Eeghen, ‘Singel 140-142 en 't schap,’ Amstelodamum. Maandblad voor de kennis van Amsterdam
LIV (1967), pp. 133-140.
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 57, built in 1615 for the merchant Eduard Emtinck. Meischke, Woonhuis
..., o.c., p. 330, calls attention to the fact that the print shows the house in mirror image. Above the ground floor the house is well preserved.
Huis Bartolotti is at Herengracht 170-172. It was built for Willem - not Hans - Bartolotti in 1618. The entrance (Pl. XXXV B) was to the left of the axis of the double residence. For a reconstruction see R. Meischke, ‘Hendrick de Keyser, Het Huis Bartolotti en het Huis met de Hoofden,’ Liber Amicorum J.P. Mieras
, Amsterdam 1958, pp. 44-55, fig. III; Meischke, Woonhuis
..., o.c., pp. 401-411.
An extensive study, with an analysis of the original division and the proportions, has been published by J.J. Terwen, ‘Het stadhuis van Hendrick de Keyser,’ Delftse Studiën
, Assen 1967, pp. 143-170. He has found documents indicating that the committee charged with the restoration was formed on March 12, 1618; on April 17 a subsidy was granted and on April 28 the specifications and model were approved. The first payment was made on June 18, the last on December 30, 1620. Pl. XXXVII is after a design for the façade, which was intended to illustrate two possible solutions. Elements from both were adopted — the rusticated. Tuscan as well as the fluted pilasters — to give the richest possible effect.
Some copies of Architectura Moderna
(as far as is now known only copies of the second edition) contain an insert showing the foreportal just as it was executed (fig. 1), in contrast to the version of the portal on Pl. XXXVII. The same variant is incorporated in the elevation and groundplan on Pl. XXXVIII A and B, however. In the copy of the Amsterdam Print Room (1st ed.) an old drawing has been pasted over the foreportal.
The dates given by de Bray are not exact. The request for funds was made as early as February 6, 1614; the agreement between de Keyser and the Staten was definitively approved on February 13. The monument was not completed until after the death of de Keyser in 1621. See R.F.P. de Beaufort, Het Mausoleum der Oranje's te Delft
, Delft 1931.
For the place of the work in the history of sepulchral monuments and for its iconography, see E. Panofsky, Tomb Sculpture
, London 1964, p. 88. The four personifications are ‘borrowed, with minor changes, from Ripa's Iconologia
... Liberty... carries a scepter and a hat because the Roman ritual of manumissio
(the freeing of a slave) included the ceremonial covering of the futurecitizen's head with a hat or cap (pileus)
.’ For an interesting view of the monument's dual nature, see Kramm, o.c., pp. 10ff.
Willem Lodewijk van Nassau died in 1620. The monument has disappeared.
Van Steenwinckel was commissioned to build a gallery in 1619. De Keyser designed seven statues for it, and drew reliefs for the balustrades. See Neurdenburg, o.c., p. 130; D.F. Slothouwer, Bouwkunst der Nederlandsche Renaissance in Denemarken
, Amsterdam 1924, p. 30. An interesting footnote to the propagation of Architectura Moderna
is provided by L. de Thuran in Den Danske Vitruvius
, 1746-49 (published in facsimile, 1966-69, in three volumes, of which the third reproduces an unpublished section of the book preserved in manuscript in the Royal Library in Copenhagen). De Thurah remarks that he once saw an illustration of the gallery in a Dutch book whose title he could not recall.
In the second edition de Bray provides a commentary to go with two newly added plates, XLV and XLVI, depicting an ‘octagonal Church by Mr. Hendrick Danckerts’ (a brother of de Keyser's associate Cornelis Danckerts). One of the plates is dated 1628 (figs. 2 and 3). According to J.J. Terwen the design is much too reserved to have been conceived in 1628. This addition of a new, notably sober structure to the second edition is a clear indication that de Bray still believed in the thesis that underlay the book when it was written, i.e. that de Keyser was the forerunner of Dutch classicism. In the later edition, as we see, he is even brought into connection with Dutch classical architecture of ca. 1640.
For a discussion of the choice between a cruciform and octagonal plan for the Marekerk (1639) and the possible role of Hendrick Danckerts' prints (Pls. XLV and XLVI) in the design of the church, see J.J. Terwen, ‘De ontwerpgeschiedenis van de Marekerk te Leiden,’ Opus Musivum
, Assen 1964, pp. 235-236, 252, note 18. In the commentary de Bray speaks of the lucid, mathematical structure, ‘in some respects conforming to the Italian manner of Building.’ His motivation for inserting these prints is the hope ‘that they may yet provide an inspiration and first idea for the construction of a church.’ In 1640 the Nieuwe Kerk in Maassluis was completed; the churches in Renswoude and Hoge Zwaluwe were begun in 1639. In the same year 's-Gravesande's revised plan for the Marekerk in Leiden was definitively approved. Perhaps de Bray had another project in mind, one closer to home. On January 5, 1640 a deputation from the elders and deacons of the St. Annakerk in Haarlem petitioned the burgemeesters for funds to enlarge their church. Later on de Bray himself was to submit a project and model (now lost) for the new church that arose on the side of the St. Annakerk. See Ozinga, o.c., p. 59.
R. Meischke, ‘De vroegste werken van Jacob van Campen,’ Bulletin van de Koninklijke Nederlandse Oudheidkundige Bond
LXV (1966), pp. 131-135.
R. Meischke, Klassicisme
..., o.c., pp. 172-173. My own final conclusion is partly based on Meischke's research, especially the study cited in note 42.