In c.1514 he had been in Rome, where he worked under Peruzzi, his principal tutor, from whom he acquired many drawings used subsequently in L'Architettura. Following the Sack of Rome (1527) he settled in Venice, then a major publishing centre, and an obvious place to live for someone engaged on writing a treatise on architecture. While in Venice he may have designed a few buildings. It is known he participated in the competition to renovate the ‘basilica’, Vicenza (1539), won by Palladio, whose design was not unlike that submitted by Serlio, and featured motifs similar to the serliana, which is named after him.
He was called to Fontainebleau, France, in 1541, where he advised on the design of the considerable building works at the château and designed the Salle du Bal there (1541–8—completed by de L'Orme) in which the influence of Raphael is clear. His Grand Ferrare, the house for the Papal Legate to France at Fontainebleau (1541–8—mostly destroyed), was an important prototype of the hôtel (town-house) in France for the next century, while his château of Ancy-le-Franc in Burgundy (1541–50), with its corner towers and central court, shows the influence of Maiano. Serlio's work undoubtedly informed Palladio, while his books had a considerable effect on many generations of designers, initially through the editions of Pieter Coeck (1502–50) in Northern Europe, and through the 1611 English edition of Robert Peake (c.1551–1619) (The Five Books of Architecture), which was a major source from the time of Inigo Jones to the flowering of the second Palladian Revival of Burlington and Campbell.
Art Bulletin, xxiv (1942), 55–91, 115–55;
S. Frommel (2004);
E. Harris (1990);
Lewis & Darley (1986);
Placzek (ed.) (1982);
Serlio (1584, 1611, 1663, 1964, 1996);
Thoenes (ed.) (1989);
Jane Turner (1996)
Sebastiano Serlio (sā´bästyä´nō sĕr´lyō), 1475–1554, Italian Renaissance architect and theoretician, b. Bologna. He was in Rome from 1514 until the sack in 1527 and worked under Baldassare Peruzzi. Few traces exist of his buildings in Venice, where he lived from 1527 to 1540. Invited to France by Francis I, he appears to have served in an advisory capacity for the construction of the palace at Fontainebleau. He designed several châteaus in France; the only one that has survived, despite alterations, is that of Ancy-le-Franc (c.1546), near Tonnerre in Burgundy. Serlio's major contribution was his treatise on architecture (eight books, 1537–75). Intended as an illustrated handbook for architects, the volumes, separately published, were highly influential in France, the Netherlands, and England as a conveyor of the Italian Renaissance style; the treatise was also an influence in theatrical scene design and stage lighting. An early manuscript of it is preserved in the Avery Architectural Library, Columbia.