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Title: Orders of Elaboration: Wendel Dietterlin and the Architectura
Authors: Petcu, Elizabeth Julia
Advisors: DaCosta Kaufmann, Thomas
Yerkes, Carolyn
Contributors: Art and Archaeology Department
Keywords: Architectura
early modern
Subjects: Art history
European history
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: The interplay between architecture and the other visual arts in the work and era of Strasbourg artist Wendel Dietterlin the Elder (c. 1550-1599) is the subject of this dissertation. New links between architecture and figural arts such as painting and sculpture emerged in sixteenth-century northern Europe along with the revival of classical culture, the Reformation, and the advent of the printed, illustrated art treatise, sparking volatile debates about the nature of architectural expertise. Scholars have conventionally probed these issues by examining the era’s theoretical literature or the dual careers of painter-architects, leaving period notions of the formal intersections between art and architecture largely obscure. Examining the formal and theoretical aspects of a wider variety of primary sources, this project scrutinizes how Dietterlin’s little-known oeuvre transformed the culture of ornament that defined the relationships between architectural and artistic expertise for early modern northern Europe. Dietterlin’s Architectura treatise—published over three installments in 1593, 1594, and finally in 1598 as an expanded compilation of the previous releases—provides the study’s evidential centerpiece. Drawing on authors such as Vitruvius, Dürer, and Vasari, the sparse text and copious etchings of Dietterlin’s Architectura develop an innovative theory of the five canonical Orders of architecture as manners of ornament that can inspire decorative inventions in any medium. This study contextualizes the treatise’s extensive influence on art literature and ornament design to argue that Dietterlin’s precocious, universal theory of ornamental style occasioned a broad re-negotiation of architectural knowledge. With reference to its first comprehensive catalogue of Dietterlin drawings, the dissertation reconstructs the Architectura’s formation, showing how Dietterlin refined and popularized the idea that ornament design in architecture and in art follow distinct technical rules but obey common protocols of style. It also analyzes how the treatise’s experiments with architectural figuration and its cosmos of classical and Christian symbolism melded the rhetoric of architecture and the figural arts, and inspired new discourses on intermediality, the paragone, and the synthesis of the arts. The dissertation demonstrates that Dietterlin revised the Vitruvian ideal of the artistically savvy architect, making architectural expertise likewise indispensible to the formation of the well-rounded artist.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Art and Archaeology

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