Sebastiano Serlio

Sebastiano Serlio, 1475-1554, was an Italian architect and theorist, best known for his Tutte l’opere d’architettura, et prospetiva, (Complete Works on Architecture and Perspective), also known as L’Architettura, published in instalments of seven books from 1537-75.

Serlio first studied painting under the tutelage of his father at home in Bologna, before moving to Rome to be trained as an architect by Peruzzi, who provided many of the drawings later included in L’Architettura. By 1527 he had moved to Venice, then a major printing centre and the place he would need to be to complete his treatise.

The first book to be published was actually the fourth in the series. In it he outlined what was to come in the following books, and most famously, defined and illustrated the five orders of classical architecture.

Examples of Serlio’s built work are few. Following the success of L’Architettura he was called to France to consult on building work to massively extend the royal château at Fountainebleau. Sadly the château of Ancy-le-Franc in Burgundy is the only intact surviving example of his private commissions.

It was L’Architettura rather than the buildings that exerted the greatest influence and secured his place in the history books. Written in Italian rather than Latin and richly illustrated, the books were to prove an essential guide to classical architects for centuries to come.

Serlio was fascinated by finding configurations of materials to span spaces larger than the material itself, such as a timber beam. In tribute we have created the Serlio parquet. A bold classical design intended to be seen on a large scale and so ideal for bigger rooms.

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