Sketchbook of Francesco di Giorgio Martini

Urb. lat. 1757 - Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)

Alternate Titles:

Skizzenbuch des Francesco di G. Martini, Skizzenbuch des Francesco di Giorgio Martini

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Alternate Titles

Skizzenbuch des Francesco di G. Martini
Skizzenbuch des Francesco di Giorgio Martini

Extent / Format

400 pages / 8.5 x 6.0 cm

Artist / School

Francesco di Giorgio Martini (1439 – 1501)


More than 1200 sketches (ships, catapults and many more)

Short description

The Sketchbook of Francesco di Giorgio Martini arose between 1464 and 1478 in Italy. It contains over 1,200 drawings and designs for various technical constructions and building projects. The extensive work is the most richly detailed collection of technical sketches and influenced countless master builders and architects of the Renaissance.

Facsimile editions available


Sketchbook of Francesco di Giorgio Martini

In Renaissance Italy there arose a few historical sketchbooks with drawings, which were indispensable for the most important architects, engineers, and technicians of that time. The sketchbook of the Renaissance man Francesco di Giorgio Martini is an extraordinary example thereof. It contains over 1,200 drawings and countless technical constructions and architectural projects. The work arose between 1464 and 1478 and is probably the most famous tractate worldwide about the architecture of the Renaissance.

The Master Francesco di Giorgio

Francesco di Giorgio Martini (baptized September 23, 1439, † 1501 ibid.) was an Italian sculptor and painter, who also worked as an architect and theoretician of architecture. He received his education in painting from the famous master Vechietta in Siena. Starting in 1478, he was trusted with the completion of the Palazzo Ducale in Urbino. At this time he also designed various fortifications at the behest of Federico da Montefeltro. He designed the model for the cupola of the cathedral in Milan, which was implemented in 1493 by the master builder Giovanni Antonio Amadeo. Di Giorgio was rumored to have invented the mine during the siege of Naples in 1495. Furthermore, he was in contact with Leonardo da Vinci, who clearly influenced the painter and architect in his work. Di Giorgio, a man of many talents, is counted among the most important Renaissance artists of Italy.

An Astounding Treatise on the Art of Construction

The extensive sketchbook is, in a manner of speaking, a log of the most important construction projects of di Giorgio. It contains sketches and drawings of his most interesting projects, which were intended both for times of war as well as times of peace. He drew designs of mechanical weaponry, trenches and fortifications, scoop wheels and man lifts, ships and catapults. His inventiveness was immeasurable. The images and the text of the work are monochromatic. The richly detailed book precisely explains the art of construction and technology of the Renaissance. No other tractate about architecture at this time is nearly as insightful.

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