Grundsätze der bürgerlichen Baukunst in drey Theilen. Aus dem Italienischen [by Johann Jakob Volkmann]. 3 volumes.
Leipzig, im Schwikerschen Verlag 1784-1786.
(8), 303pp.; (6), 362pp.; (6), 342pp., 8 engraved folding plates.
21 x 13 cm. Fine early 19th century red half morocco, richly gilt.
First edition in German. The most influential Italian architectural theorist of the late eighteenth century was Francesco Milizia (1725-1798). According to his own engaging description of himself in his autobiography. Milizia was an educated dilettante an average man with a discriminating eye, keen to learn but not especially profound or reflective. He was closely involved in the circle of Neo-classical artistes around Canova, Mengs, Winckelmann and Nicolas de Azara, in sympathy but not indentifying completely with their aesthetic views. The common categorization of Milizia as a Neo-classicist only partly does him justice. His teachings incorporate almost irreconcilable idealist, functionalist, normative and relativist points of view. His work contains every conceivable theoretical position current in the second half of the eighteenth century, presented for the most part in a measured and non-doctrinaire manner. As a writer, Milizia was most prolific in the areas of architectural theory and natural history. He had an extensive knowledge of the history of architectural theory and made general use of this without ever identifying his intellectual sources in detail. His writings are permeated by a European enlightenment, liberal-minded outlook, which together with his simplifying approach contributed to his European impact, his major works being rapidly translated into English, French and German. – Hanno-Walter Kruft, A history of architectural theory, New York 1994, pp.203ff.
For German edition and Johann Jokob Volkmann see: Klaus Jan Philipp, Um 1800. Architekturtheorie und Architekturkrtik in Deutschlnad zwischen 1790 und 1810. Stuttgart/London 1997.
Engraved bookplate on front pastedown.