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Gualtherus Rivius

(c. 1500—1545)


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(b Strasbourg, c. 1500: d Nuremberg, after 1545). German publisher. Probably a physician by profession, he had a fairly comprehensive knowledge of the writings on architectural theory of the Renaissance, as far as they were available in print, and sought to make them accessible to German artists and craftsmen. In 1547 he published five plates and a page of text on the subject of the five orders with pictorial material by Sebastiano Serlio and Cesare di Lorenzo Cesariano. His Unterrichtung zu rechtem Verstandt der lehr Vitruvii (Nuremberg, 1547; the so-called Architektur) did not constitute a complete architectural theory but contains excerpts and adaptations of mainly Italian texts in a German compilation; the theories of Serlio and Leon Battista Alberti (1404–72), in particular, were disseminated in Germany by this work. After publishing a Latin edition (Strasbourg, 1543) of the work of Vitruvius, Rivius published the first German translation, the Vitruvius Teutsch (Nuremberg, 1548; Basle, 1575, 1614). He based this annotated edition on the Italian translation and commentary (Como, 1521) by Cesare Cesariano but also drew on other editions of Vitruvius and writings on architecture. The many woodcut illustrations by minor Nuremberg masters were based mainly on Italian models. Rivius's special achievement lay in his rendering of Vitruvius’ difficult terminology into German, although that language had no ready-made equivalents. In so doing he applied architectural genres unknown in Germany to contemporary local projects, the new style being reconciled with German Late Gothic.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.


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