Three atypical publications in France (Sagredo c.1536, Philandrier 1544, Poldo d’Albenas 1559-1560)

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Three illustrated publications, all very different from each other, came out in France in less than twenty-five years. Each one was very important in its respective domain: the Raison darchitecture antique, extraicte de Victruve… (c.1536), the anonymous French translation of the Medidas del Romano by Diego de Sagredo (Toledo, 1526), the “Digression” on the five orders that Guillaume Philandrier added to his commentary on the De architectura by Vitruvius which was printed in Rome in 1544, and the Discours historial de l’antique cité de Nîmes by Jean Poldo d’Albenas, published in Lyon (1559-1560). Because the texts diverge from the illustrations, they are worth examining, as much from the point of view of the authors of the texts as from the involvement of the booksellers well-known in the choice of illustrations as they kept in mind the public they were intended for. How indeed to explain the additions, the explanatory diagrams, the new illustrations in the translation of Sagredo’s treatise, the weakness of Philandrier’s illustrations in a fundamental text on architectural theory and the puzzling modernity of the illustrations of the main antiquities in Nîmes, some in oblique perspective similar to those of the Coner Codex, long before the illustrations in Philibert Delorme’s treatise (1567)? The illustrated book on architecture was an entirely new type of publication in France then.