Project XVIII (fols. 57v-59r)
This project corresponds to countryside Project XIV.
There is nothing here of any particular interest, other than the skill with which Serlio masks a typical 16th century Roman palazzo with a military structure, of which the essential features are the defensive details of the first entrance atrium surrounded by guard posts and the final defence tower R in the right-hand rear corner.
As noted in the commentary, these features are there to deal with possible attack by an opposing faction in the city, but not indeed a full siege. As previously in the countryside Project XXVII, the interest lies more in the commentary than in the project itself.
After a typically rhetorical opening (a late addition to the Dantesque and Petrarchan tradition of ‘laments’ and ‘invective’ against an Italy slave to its factions), we have the portrait of the ‘condottiero’. Whilst this figure is a little out of date for Italy, referring as it does to a figure typical of Serlio’s youth at the turn of the 16th century, for France it anticipates the very near future with conflict between the Catholics and the Huguenots and essentially between the Lorraine-Guise and the Bourbons. As with the ‘Tyrant Prince’ in the countryside, the Machiavellian tone (although here reduced) is clear. Indeed such tone is magnified by the commentary’s imitation of the structure of The Prince with the parallel analysis of the virtues and vices of the condottiero and his relations with the society around him.
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