Vignola, James Barozzio De

, an eminent architect and writer on the subject, was the son of Clement Barozzio, of one of the best families of Milan, but who being ruined by the civil wars, retired to Vignola, a small town in the marquisate of that name, situated in the territory of Bologna. It was there that his son, the subject of this article, was born, Oct. 1, 1507, and became afterwards | generally known by the name of his native place. His father dying when he was almost in his infancy, and leaving him little provision, he wished to have recourse to painting; and having some knowledge of the first principles of the art, he went to Bologna to be farther instructed, but soon changed his mind, and determined to confine himself to architecture and perspective. He was no sooner known in this profession, than several persons applied to him for designs for buildings, and he executed some for the governor of Bologna, which were very much admired. On such occasions, in order to see the effect of what he laid down, he had models made in wood by Damien de Bergamo, a Dominican, who excelled in that species of ingenuity, and used to express, by means of coloured woods, every kind of material to be used in the building.

In order to acquire a greater knowledge of the principles of architecture, Vignola went to Rome, and at first returned to painting fora maintenance; but not reaping much profit, abandoned that art a second time, and procured employment as a draughtsman from Melighini, of Ferrara, then architect to pope Paul III. and who had established a school of architecture at Rome. Yignola was afterwards employed to make drawings, for the use of this academy, of the ancient edifices of the city, from which he derived great advantage in his studies. While here, about 1537, or J 540, he met with Primaticcio, who was employed by Francis I. king of France, to purchase antiques (See Primaticcio); and Vignola was of so much service in making casts for him, that Primaticcio engaged him to go with him to France. There Vignola assisted that celebrated artist in all his works, and particularly in making the bronze casts which are at Fontainebleau. He also made various architectural designs for the king, who was prevented from having them executed, by the wars in which France was then involved. After a residence of about two years, he was invited to Bologna, to undertake the new church of St. Petronius, and his design was allowed the preference, and highly approved by Julio Romano, the celebrated painter, and Christopher Lombard, the architect. At Minerbio, near Bologna, he built a magnificent palace for count Isolani, and in Bologna the house of Achilles Bocchi. The portico of the exchange in that city is also of his designing, but it was not built until 1562, in the pontificate of Pius IV. His most useful work at Bologna was the canal of Navilio, which he constructed with great skill | for the space of a league. But happening to be ill rewarded for this undertaking, he went to Placentia, where he gave a design for the duke of Parma’s palace, which was executed by his son Hyacinth, who was now able to assist him in his various works. He afterwards built several churches and chapels in various parts of Italy, which it is unnecessary to specify. These, it is supposed, he had finished before his return to Rome in 1550, where Vasari presented him to pope Julius III. who appointed him his architect. While at Rome, he was employed in various works, both of grandeur and utility, the last of which, and reckoned his finest work, was the magnificent palace or castle of Caprarola, so well described and illustrated by plates in his works.

In his latter days, he succeeded Michael Angelo as architect of St. Peter’s, and was strongly solicited by Philip II. to assist in building the Escurial; but his age, and his numerous employments, prevented his accepting the offer. The only interval between this and his death, was employed in a commission from Gregory XIII. to settle the limits between the territories of the church, and those of the duke of Tuscany; on his return he was seized with a fever, which proved fatal, July 7, 1575, in his sixty-sixth year. He was solemnly interred in the church of St. Mary of the Rotunda.

Vignola’s fame as an architectural author, is scarcely less than that of a practical artist. He published the “Regola delli cinque ordini d’architettura,” fol. no date, with thirtytwo fine plates, which has often been reprinted with additions and comments. The best is probably that printed at Amst. in 1631, or 1G42, fol. “con la nuova aggiunta de Michael Angelo Buonaroti.” The French have several good editions, with improvements, particularly the “Cours d’architecture qui comprend les ordres de Vignole, avec des cornmentaires, les figures, et descriptions de ses plus beaux batimens, et de ceux de Michel Ange,” by Daviler: the third edition, now before us, is dated 1699, but there are others of 1738 and 1760, large 4to. Jombert published at Paris in 8vo, “Regies des cinq orders d’architecture,” translated from the Italian of Vignola, with remarks, &c. 1


Life by D’Aviler prefixed to the “Cours d' Architecture.” —Tiraboschi.