Cesare Cesariano

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right|thumbnail|A 1521

Cesare di Lorenzo Cesariano was a late 15th-early 16th century
architect and architectural theorist in Milan, known to Donato Bramante ca. 1474, according to Bramante's vita by Giorgio Vasari, who says of the young, as yet untried Bramante:
"Determined to see at least one notable thing, he preceded to Milan to visit the Duomo, where there happened to be one Cesare Cesariano, reputed a good geometer and architect, who had written a commentary on Vitruvius. Enraged at not having received the reward which he had expected, Cesare refused to work any more, and, becoming eccentric, he died more like a beast than a man."


Cesariano is chiefly remembered as the first translator of Vitruvius' treatise De Architectura into a modern language (Italian), with his added commentary. It was published, with copious woodcut illustrations, at Como, 1521. It contained 360 pages and was printed in 1300 copies. It was soon plagiarized in editions published at Venice, but all were superseded by Daniele Barbaro's edition, with illustrations by Andrea Palladio, 1556.

Vitruvius' technical language is fraught with difficulties. Leone Battista Alberti was of the mind that the Latins thought Vitruvius was writing Greek and the Greeks, Latin. The impenetrable Latin and the lack of illustrations gave freedom to the Renaissance designers, who were able to interpret antique architecture in their own image, all' antica. Cesariano's Vitruvius gives us a clear picture of the......
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