Projects IV and V (fols. 3v-4r)

It is only at the level of the 'poor craftsman' that Serlio begins to distinguish between Italian and French models. Clearly Serlio could not identify in the agricultural buildings the clear distinctive national characteristics (especially in the elevations) which he points out, starting with these case minime. Serlio, it must be stressed, favours neither one sort nor the other - if anything he praises French 'commoditÓ' slightly more. The fundamental differences present in all the popular/bourgeois Projects from IV - XI lie in the ground-floor porticoes on the Italian models (corresponding to the parallel corridor/atriums on the fašade in the French buildings), and the steep roofs with dormer windows on the French models, which absorb and in a certain sense mask the top floor.

The mania which Serlio has for absolute symmetry (even in social status) is revealed in the parallel developments in the three 'degrees of poverty' of the peasant and the craftsman - Serlio adds to the base unit first a service room (kitchen), then the front portico. This latter allows the arranging of the saletta-camera-guardaroba nucleus on the first floor, which in itself becomes the matrix (starting with Project VII) for the perfectly French solution of anticamera (or galleria)-camera-guardaroba. The measurements too stem from the eurhythmic schema. In the complete Italian model, the result is evidently a square; the difference of 1 foot between the fašade 15 + 8 and the flank 9 (the depth of the portico) + 13 is cancelled by the thickness of the walls. In the French model the ratio is 40 x 20, i.e. 1:2.

Given the parity of economic and social conditions, Serlio clearly wishes to underline the French tendency for larger rooms, favoured by the typical use of the spiral staircase, a more compact sort of staircase than other types, for which however he uses the Italian term limaca (northern dialects limaccia = lumaca (snail) - Battisti-Alessio). The word had only been used very recently as an architectural term (Francesco di Giorgio - Prati/ Palladio, Vasari / Tommaseo-Bellini) and the first occurrence of the word in France (limace) is in a notarial act of 1621 (Godefroy). The same tendency is reflected in the proportions and dimensions of the windows, the French being larger and above all taller than the Italian ones, as Serlio himself remarks below. Once again Serlio regularises and renders schematic actual architectural elements; hence it is simple to trace the elevation of IV to Bologna or the Veneto, and that of V to northern France, perhaps even Flanders or Holland - indeed such a building would not look out of place (an entire century later) in a painting by Vermeer or De Hooch.

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