Alberti, Leone Battista, Architecture, 1755

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Tranquility, Pleaſure and Health, in Time of Buſineſs for Aſſiſtance and Profit; and in both,
ſor Security and Dignity.
Let us not therefore deny that he ought to be praiſed and eſteemed,
and to be allowed a Place, both for the wonderful and raviſhing Beauty of his Works, and for
the Neceſſity, Serviceableneſs, and Strength of the Things which he has invented, among the
Chief of thoſe who have deſerved Honour and Rewards from Mankind.
The Conſideration of
theſe Things induced me, for my Diverſion, to look a little further into this Art and its Ope-
rations, from what Principles it was derived, and of what Parts it conſiſted: And finding them
of various Kinds, in Number almoſt infinite, in their Nature marvellous, of Uſe incredible, in-
ſomuch that it was doubtful what Condition of Men, or what Part of the Commonwealth, or
what Degree in the City, whether the Publick or Private, Things ſacred or profane, Repoſe or
Labour, the Individual or the whole human Species, was moſt obliged to the Architect, or
rather Inventor of all Conveniencies; I reſolved, for ſeveral Reaſons, too tedious here to re-
peat, to collect all thoſe Things which are contained in theſe Ten Books.
In treating of which,
we ſhall obſerve this Method: We conſider that an Ediſice is a Kind of Body conſiſting, like
all other Bodies, of Deſign and of Matter; the firſt is produced by the Thought, the other by
Nature; ſo that the one is to be provided by the Application and Contrivance of the Mind,
and the other by due Preparation and Choice.
And we further reflected, that neither the one
nor the other of itſelf was ſufficient, without the Hand of an experienced Artificer, that knew
how to form his Materials after a juſt Deſign.
And the Uſe of Ediſices being various, it was
neceſſary to enquire whether one and the ſame Kind of Deſign was fit for all Sorts of Buildings;
upon which Account we have diſtinguiſhed the ſeveral Kinds of Buildings: Wherein perceiv-
ing that the main Point was the juſt Compoſition and Relation of the Lines among themſelves,
from whence ariſes the Height of Beauty, I therefore began to examine what Beauty really was,
and what Sort of Beauty was proper to each Edifice.
And as we often meet with Faults in all
theſe Reſpects, I conſidered how they might be altered or amended.
Every Book therefore
has its Title prefixed to it, according to the Variety of the Subject: The Firſt treats of Deſigns;
the Second, of Materials; the Third, of the Work; the Fourth, of Works in general; the
Fifth, of Works in particular; the Sixth, of Ornaments in general; the Seventh, of the Orna-
ments proper for ſacred Edifices; the Eighth, of thoſe for publick and profane ones; The
Ninth, of thoſe for the Houſes of private Perſons; the Tenth, of Amendments and Alterations
in Buildings: To which is added, a various Hiſtory of Waters, and how they are found, and
what Uſe is to be made of the Architect in all theſe Works: As alſo Four other Books, Three of
which treat of the Art of Painting; and the Fourth, of Sculpture.

Figure: /permanent/archimedes/alber_archi_003_en_1755/003-01-figures/ not scanned
[Figure 3]

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