Nexus Network Journal

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 63–73

Juan Bautista Villalpando and the Nature and Science of Architectural Drawing



In 1604, Jesuit priest and architect Juan Bautista Villalpando published In Ezechielem Explanationes, a massive three-volume scriptural exegesis on the Book of Ezekiel. Volume Two was dedicated to the reconstruction of Ezekiel’s vision of the Temple of Solomon and consists of five books: on the prophecy on the Temple; its plan and reconstruction; the justification of the reconstruction; its bronzes and ornamentation, and an entire book on the nature and science of architectural drawing. Initially the latter appears out of place in a Scriptural exegesis but he explained that the purpose of this book was to provide a guide for theologians so that they can form a mental idea or image of Temple, for their understanding and enlightenment of the entire Temple. However, throughout the text he points to the utility of the book to architects. For Villalpando the laws of optics were essential to the norms of perspective. Moreover, the sense and structure of seeing was a crucial element to the norms of mathematic and architecture, it is also a central theme in his theology. This paper examines his theory and his proposal of perspective for architecture drawing.


Juan Bautista Villalpando architectural drawing seventeenth century perspective optics geometry perspective theory 

Copyright information

© Kim Williams Books, Turin 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The School of Architecture and Built EnvironmentThe University of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia

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