This first French edition of Lomazzo's treatise is a highlight of art theory publications in 17th-century France. It preceded the translation of Leonardo da Vinci’s Trattato della Pittura into French by two years, influencing Poussin and many others.
In this book, Lomazzo treats the proportion of humans (men, women, children) and horses according to principles established by Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Dürer, as well as the tenets of architectural drawing. As Lomazzo’s original edition contained no illustration apart from his portrait, Hilaire Pader added his own copperplate engravings to illustrate the various precepts given in the text and to provide a better understanding of the theory. In this masterpiece we can observe how the French master transformed and enhanced German Renaissance models in order to revitalize the illustrations.
Female figures often have fancy hairstyles or are put into scenes to demonstrate in which context they could be depicted. Males are given hair and beards in order to soften the mannequin-like baldness in Dürer’s treatise. Figures are provided with accessories: a wreath of leaves, a chalice, or a truncheon for the strong athletic, Herculean type.