RIHA Journal 0271 | 12 March 2022

Francisco de Holanda's Drawings and Words: Fortification, Architecture and Urban Design

Margarida Tavares da Conceição
Instituto de História da Arte, FCSH-Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Artistically gifted courtier Francisco de Holanda (1517/1518–1584) left several manuscripts, containing both texts and drawings, in a quantity and of a consistency rarely seen in sixteenth-century Portugal. Holanda's contributions to architectural knowledge are well known among scholars, yet their relevance has not been fully acknowledged. Some obstacles need to be overcome: a one-sided disciplinary approach, a disproportionate focus on the influence of treatises, and the seductive pull of an eccentric personality. Beyond the debate on his contribution to artistic practice or even to the idea of classical antiquity, his achievements had a bearing on Portuguese culture in a wider and more complex sense than has previously been discussed. Educated in royal circles, at a time when imperial overseas ambitions depended strongly on military expertise, Holanda lent his skills as a painter to the task of espionage through his drawings of foreign fortifications, while making a significant contribution to the development of architectural language and thus to the emergence of the architect's profile. As such, a reassessment of the legacy of this artistically talented courtier is long overdue. Rereading his works and putting all the pieces together gives us a better insight into the bonds between art theory and architecture, fortification and urban design, from the position of a cultured non-specialist.

Holanda's contribution to architectural culture1

[1] Francisco de Holanda (1517/1518–1584) is a celebrated figure in the cultural history of sixteenth-century Portugal. The son of the royal miniaturist António de Holanda, an artist of presumed Flemish or Dutch origin,2 he was educated in courtly circles during the reign of John III (1521–1557). In all likelihood he was an avid reader of Castiglione's Il Cortegiano (1528), if not a typical or direct product of that doctrine.3 The singularity of his profile in Portuguese architectural history derives from his status as a court artist raised in a Humanist milieu; he was a young courtier serving in the household of the royal princes (infantes) and precisely this position underlines his professional indefiniteness.4 While it is likely that his early artistic education took place under his father (and in his workshop), his later intellectual training was closer to classical Humanist learning.5

[2] For our purpose here, it is fruitless to discuss whether or not he was part of the group of students whose education abroad was encouraged by the royal family.6 What is known, and is understood to have had a bearing on his future career, is the journey that he made to Italy via a route that took him across Spain and the south of France, accompanying the diplomatic embassy to Rome headed by Pedro de Mascarenhas.7 Francisco de Holanda lived abroad from the beginning of 1538, when he was only around twenty years old, and did not return until May or June of 1540.8 This period of travel became a point of reference throughout his long life.

[3] After returning to Portugal,9 and over the 1540s and 1550s, he finished and organized his travel drawings and writings. One main output from this journey – whose itinerary is only presumptive –,10 is unusual among Portuguese sources: the written records take a book format and the drawn records are collected in what is now known as Os desenhos das antigualhas (The Drawings of Antiquities), but whose original handwritten title or opening is When John III was king of Portugal, who rest in God, Francisco d'Ollanda passed to Italy and of the Antiquities he saw he portrayed by his hand all the drawings in this book.11 Here, the main concern for the young artist was to portray the Mirabilia Urbis,12 though the collection includes a significant group of fortification drawings. This exercise in depiction is significant for its likely impact on military knowledge in the Portuguese court, which at that time was grappling with difficulties in the construction of bastion forts. It should also be noted that this task was not carried out at Francisco de Holanda's sole initiative, but fits in with the mission of a spy or at least an agent charged with collecting sensitive information, following royal instructions, as a courtier artist would do. This kind of cultural transfer can also be seen with other travellers, yet without such graphic accomplishments. Holanda, however, was not a military expert or engineer.

[4] When Holanda began to organise his materials, he also put great effort into writing a theoretical work that, although fragmented and only available in handwritten form until the nineteenth century, was the first of its kind in the Portuguese language and still remains an utterly original text. Holanda finished the writing of Da pintura antiga (On Antique Painting) in February of 1548, and in the same year Diálogos em Roma (Dialogues in Rome) was presented as a second book of this same treatise, followed in 1549 by the dialogue Do tirar polo natural (On Portraiture from Life), which can be seen as a supplement.13 Furthermore, Da pintura antiga and its art theory was developed side by side with De aetatibus mundi imagines, a book of drawings conceived as a chronicle of the world. He began producing images for this book around 1545, and continued to do so until 1551, but the codex was only assembled after 1573.14

[5] This essay will not address this important pictorial codex and its web of neo-platonic meanings, which, along with Os desenhos das antigualhas, demonstrates an extensive Humanist literary influence, embodying the idea of the Antique. Instead, I will focus on the discourse of Holanda's early writings in order to explain his significant contribution to the development of architectural language and therefore to the emergence of the architect as a professional profile. Relying on Vitruvian guidance, but also drawing upon other knowledge gleaned from his Italian contacts, he expressed for the first time in Portuguese the concept of desenho as the design method (or the architect's project methodology), although not without some ambiguity. Yet, his target audience would have been learned men at court, not architectural practitioners.

[6] Meanwhile, the death of king John III (1557) and the ensuing complicated regencies15 appear not to have been very beneficial for him, and by 1571 he presented the new young king Sebastian with two other new manuscripts that marked a development of his earlier ideas and expectations. Yet he never recovered his former royal protection from a generation of princes who died very early.16 In short, the historiographic assessment of Holanda seems to have been affected by the fact that he was seen as a somewhat odd figure, due both to his seclusion in these years in his Sintra estate, and the fact that he later offered his services to Philip II of Spain, after the latter was crowned King of Portugal.

[7] These two later manuscripts were bound together to compose a single work made up of two separate books, with their own titles and prologues. Both of them were approved by the censor for public circulation in 1576. The first text, Da fábrica que falece à cidade de Lisboa,17 translated as On the Construction that the City of Lisbon Lacks,18 is presented as a recommendation and report about Lisbon's renewal. In the second one, known by its short heading Da ciência do desenho [On the Science of Design],19 the concept of design is clarified, namely the difference between design and drawing. This second phase of writings and drawings surpasses the previous architectural contribution of Holanda and reveals a full design theory. In doing so, Holanda presents himself as the court architect or artistic advisor, poised to serve the Christian republic at the behest of his king. To better demonstrate his theory, he developed a visual and textual proposal for the renewal of Lisbon. Even though it was not intended to be executed in this form, the artist thus assumed the status of a leading exponent of urban design and an expert on the architecture of an imperial capital, equipped with comprehensive survey knowledge.

[8] So far, no physical evidence has been uncovered of any building or structure that was for sure designed by Holanda or that reveals his direct influence on other architectural designers or master builders. Nonetheless, his material legacy has survived and made an important contribution to the learned architectural culture at the Portuguese court in the mid-16th century. He read and wrote, saw and drew, extended his knowledge beyond architecture, and fed all of this into his work, which thus requires an all-encompassing approach.

Travel and fortification drawings

[9] Despite being widely referenced, Holanda's sojourn in Italy remains rather mysterious. Official documents able to elucidate Holanda's own writings are scarce, so he is the main historical source on his own accomplishments. The goal of this trip is not at all clear:20 was this simply the inclusion of a young artist courtier in a diplomatic embassy to Rome headed by Pedro de Mascarenhas?21 Or are we dealing with a royal commission to update artistic culture at court, perhaps coupled with a strategic mission to survey the new Italian fortresses? A task of military espionage, so to speak, which may have been underestimated by historians on account of Holanda's concomitant interest in portraying Roman Antiquities. On the contrary, it is worth underlining this likely strategic scope and the intention of obtaining drawings of fortifications, not least because there is textual evidence detailing the crown's guidelines for collecting this kind of visual information.22 The task would fit to perfection a courtier with the artistic profile of Francisco de Holanda.

[10] Moreover, Holanda's own words and drawings indicate that the fortifications were of special interest to him, as they were almost the only contemporary structures to be represented in the Os desenhos das antigualhas.23 Not long after his return, and before composing the collection, at least some of the drawings were delivered to either the King or his brother, the Infante Dom Luís, or to both of them. This assumption is based on the idea that the Infante Dom Luís, Duke of Beja (1506–1555) – who was also the chief military advisor and a figure quite close to Emperor Charles V – was the true figure behind the commission for the fortification drawings; it has even been suggested that he may have issued Holanda with indications or advice for the task during his time in Barcelona, where Holanda met (and spoke with) the Emperor and the Infante.24 The fact that the drawings were assembled long after the 'field work' was completed reveals a disordered sequence of travel, with a mixture of different subjects and no clear geographical line.

1 Francisco de Holanda, "Fortezza de Niça", in: Os desenhos das antigualhas, 1538–1541, ink on paper, 46 x 35 cm, Real Biblioteca del Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Ms. 28-I-20, fol. 37r (upper half) (photo: Patrimonio Nacional)

[11] Holanda's contribution to the renewal of military architecture in Portugal has been disregarded by a nearly exclusive focus on the discussion of chronological and geographical precedents for the development of the bastion system, such that the role of agents with less advanced technical skills has been underestimated. The connection between Holanda's work and the history of fortifications has been studied only by John Bury25 and Fernando Cobos,26 who set out essential data for understanding this process; among Portuguese art historians only Paulo Pereira27 has underlined the importance of Holanda's fortification drawings despite his evident inability to conceive of a mathematical or engineering approach.

[12] Almost every fortress included in Os desenhos das antigualhas presents characteristics of the first period of artillery-adapted fortifications or what are still sometimes known as transitional fortifications, which in this case means a fortified perimeter with scarped walls and sweeping, circular bastions, sometimes with an added pentagonal bastion. Beyond the specificity of each case, this collection of drawings reflects an accurate selection of the most innovative and important fortresses of his time, with few exceptions.28 The possibility of previous criteria or even a list given to Holanda by the royal officers might also provide a good explanation for some strange detours along the way.29 This (not so) simple accomplishment alone should make Holanda's fortification drawings highly significant for studies of European military architecture.

[13] Yet it does not make him a fortification expert, but rather places his drawing records at the precise point when early modern fortifications were a balance between the most widely disseminated option of round bastions (with a conic section) and the sharp angles of the pentagonal bastion. At any rate, the relevant vocabulary (bulwark, bastion, etc.) was not yet established.30 Holanda portrayed the moment of this intense debate, but there are questions as to how consistent his knowledge of the issue may have been. Was he only a runner for his royal masters or may we credit him with other achievements? In fact, there is strong evidence to suggest that he was not an expert in fortifications, but merely a cultivated and clever witness who may have understood the relevance of the matter, leading him to believe he could truly contribute to Portuguese military might. Military construction was hugely important in securing Portugal's worldwide imperial ambitions in the mid-sixteenth century, and the ability to keep its knowledge up to date was absolutely crucial.31

2 Francisco de Holanda, "Castello Novo de Napoles", in: Os desenhos das antigualhas, 1538–1541, ink on paper, 46 x 35 cm, Real Biblioteca del Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Ms. 28-I-20, fol. 53v (photo: Patrimonio Nacional)

[14] Cobosargues that two main theoretical sources would have sufficed to teach Francisco de Holanda about fortifications (both before and after his travels), thus bringing the somewhat oversimplified opposition between round and protruding bastions to the fore. Not long before Holanda's journey, Albrecht Dürer's book on city fortifications (1527, widespread Latin translation in 1535)32 and the Apología en excusación y favor de las fábricas que se hacen en el reyno de Nápoles by Pedro Luís Escrivá (1538)33 would have been the main references for Holanda. Between 1537 and 1541 nobody would have known for sure that round bastions would soon be considered passé, assome researchers have shrewdly noticed.34 Furthermore, during these years Dürer's was the only printed book on the subject, although it is not a treatise on fortifications from a theoretical and technical perspective, as was the case with Escrivá's manuscript.

[15] Dürer's book shows a bastion type quite close to the ones drawn by Holanda. By that time the round bastioned fortress was far more common than flanked angle structures: Salses, a very special case in the French-Catalan border, Nice (Fig. 1), Sarzanello and Civita Castellana are the most representative and detailed images of that model.35 Several of Holanda's drawings display hybrid structures, clearly experimental fortifications, very different from each other, featuring pentagonal and isolated bastions, all of them connected with Spanish Habsburg commanders, as Cobos highlighted with Castello Novo (Fig. 2)36 and Sant'Elmo (Fig. 3), both in Naples, and Fuenterrabía and San Sebastián in the Basque region.

[16] Sant'Elmo seems especially important, as it would establish a direct connection with Escrivá. Nevertheless, the drawing is very deceptive from a technical point of view. Two representations are displayed on a single sheet: the approach to the entrance with an exaggerated view of the huge embrasures37 and some giant merlons with a different shape below. However, any of the (still) existing drawings demonstrate the most innovative feature: the star-shaped plan with articulated curtain walls instead of protruding bastions, an option that sparked much debate, to the extent that the military architect responsible for the design wrote a defence of his own work, the abovementioned Apología en excusación, in circulation from 1538.

3 Francisco de Holanda, "Entrada da Fortaleza de S. Elmo en Napoli and Merli dela medesima Rocha", in: Os desenhos das antigualhas, 1538–1541, ink on paper, 46 x 35 cm, Real Biblioteca del Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Ms. 28-I-20, fol. 45r (photo: Patrimonio Nacional)

[17] The very presence of Francisco de Holanda in Naples, these two existing drawings and a couple of pieces of circumstantial evidence show that it would have been impossible for him not to have known about this issue, and this is of major importance for the ongoing debate about fortifications.38 Furthermore, Escrivá was responsible for the previous design of L'Aquila (which also goes unmentioned by Holanda), a square four-bastioned fortress, although other examples discussed in the manuscript were surveyed by Holanda. That is the case for Pesaro and Ferrara, which he addresses in a singular or complementary manner.

4 Francisco de Holanda, "Da Cidade de Pesaro", in: Os desenhos das antigualhas,1538–1541, ink on paper, 46 x 35 cm, Real Biblioteca del Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Ms. 28-I-20, fol. 36v (photo: Patrimonio Nacional)

[18] Holanda's journey to Pesaro became famous on account of his claim to have been captured there while he was drawing, under suspicion of being a spy. While this may just be a heroic literary topos, a common trope in military affairs,39 its use by Holanda may signal his wish to stress the risks attached to his supposed task.40 The sheet entitled Da çidade de Pesaro (Fig. 4) brings together three different depictions, two of them particularly prominent: the city enceinte with roundels41 and the most accurate perspective of a pentagonal bastion ever drawn by Holanda, with the subtitle brickwork (obra de tijolo) alluding to the building material. This was one of the techniques enthusiastically advocated by Holanda in later years for use in warfare.42 Besides that, at the right bottom of the page, a square four-bastioned fortress plan is only sketched in faint traces, but with additional notes (materials, measurements, gate positions).43 Yet it is the only planimetric representation and the most regular one, a pentagonal bastion with straight flanks, without orillons. Moreover, just one other architectural plan is presented in the drawings (the Temple of Bacchus), without any section or elevation. In other words, Holanda had not mastered graphic representation of architectural design, a standard of technical coding that, at any rate, was still in its infancy. However, these drawings show the intentional use of perspective, an achievement on its own account in Portuguese circles.44

[19] The folio with Ferrara also brings together three drawings: the city walls with round towers, a ravelin in front of the monumental gate, and a front made by articulated curtain walls with a big cavalier on top, which Cobos understands to be precisely the same issue as that discussed by Escrivá and applied at Sant'Elmo.45 He also points out the Guipuzcoa examples as the most inventive on the Iberian Peninsula: Fuenterrabía and San Sebastián (Fig. 5)46 were drawn on a single sheet of paper, in both cases showing a pentagonal bastion added by Italian experts in some detail.

5 Francisco de Holanda, "De Sam Sebastião de Lepuzca and O cubo de fonterrabia", in: Os desenhos das antigualhas, 1538–1541, ink on paper, 46 x 35 cm, Real Biblioteca del Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Ms. 28-I-20, fol. 42r (photo: Patrimonio Nacional)

[20] The most cutting-edge and innovative examples that Holanda visited during this field trip were recorded in drawings that are thought to have been lost. Besides the number of fortresses outlined, it is possible to identify references in Holanda's work to other designs for which the drafts must have gone astray. We should also note that the drawings included in the codex may not be the only ones that he sketched during his journey. He mentions some places he drew and measured – Genoa's defences, the Fortezza da Basso in Florence and Santa Sabina's bastione in Rome – but there is no trace of such drawings.47 It may be that those pictures were used for study and were subsequently lost. But the oddest absence among the references to military architecture made by Holanda is Michele Sanmicheli (1484–1559), who was prolific in Veneto in the 1530s, along with Francesco Maria I della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, a commander with a highly innovative technique and well-known through Escrivá.48 John Bury notes as particularly strange the absence of any reference to Verona (even in relation to the ancient ruins) as Holanda travelled through Veneto.49

[21] Besides these "architectural portraits", another type of drawing with a strong military emphasis was made by Holanda: broad landscape views, with subjects including the bays of Genoa, Nice and Naples, the Gulf of Pozzuolo, Lake Averno, bridges and several river crossings. As Cobos pointed out,50 while some landscapes may have been depicted due to other interests, some of these views are related to military strategy and connections between strongholds.

[22] In terms of Holanda's real drawing practice in the field and in cabinet, we know almost nothing. Holanda says he drew and measured by his own hand51 and refers to "thin sheets of paper" and "sketched in […] notebooks".52 Every single sheet has its own details and questions, though there is an obvious possibility that he completed these at home from the drafts made in Italy, by reworking or simply retouching them. However, at least in certain cases of ancient buildings, there are many clues pointing to direct contact with Italian designs, which are likely to have been worked on by Holanda.53 At any rate, his fortification drawings and his landscapes and partial cityscapes have common features and the same balanced sense of composition.

[23] Cobos points out that Holanda carefully added details in order to aid understanding, and argues that while some pictures simply display the building situation as seen by the naked eye, others include textual explanations and artificial distortions in order to make information visible to others.54 This is precisely what happens in the most ingenious cases (Pesaro, Ferrara, Fuenterrabía, San Sebastián, Sant'Elmo in Naples, and the Venice arsenal, in this case testing out an aerial perspective). Again, Cobos raises the matter under discussion here: why in the sixteenth century a painter's skills were requested in such a field of expertise. Paulo Pereira55 also follows this reasoning to some extent, arguing that Holanda makes an effort to surpass a generic painter's approach to architectural representation. Through these drawings Holanda shows himself to be a painter involved in espionage, but not a future military architect. Indeed, he demonstrates the utility of the art of painting in warfare, as he will underline in his theoretical work. The distance between the capacity of a draftsman assisting with strategic decisions and the profile of a military or an engineer is too great, as that same profile was itself a somewhat piecemeal one, still in the process of formation.

[24] Nevertheless, after his return to Portugal, probably in the late spring of 1540, Francisco de Holanda would certainly have been one of the best-informed courtiers in relation to the Italian fortification panorama. Moreover, he brought with him sketched materials that enabled the exchange of work practices and knowledge with others. As a matter of fact, the design and building of Mazagan (now El Jadida in Morocco), the first fully angle-bastioned city enceinte in the Portuguese dominions, would commence in just one year; in his own words, Holanda would be involved in the enterprise:

Just as the king and the Infante [Dom Luís] used me in the fortress of Mazagan, which is made by my design and model, being the first well strengthened force that was made in Africa, which I designed coming from Italy and France: to draw by my hand and to measure the main fortresses of the world (but the one of Mazagan was not made of brick, as I advised the king and the Infante; they would know the reason why).56

[25] However, Holanda's claim to have been the author, or brains, for the design of Mazagan has often been disregarded because of lack of documentary evidence, which never mentions him.57 Despite this, official records present a very interesting set of characters working together, thus reflecting the complexity of a new stage for architectural culture. King John III and Infante Dom Luís, along with other counsellors (and maybe a kind of "board of architects"),58 decided to build a modern fortress town; in June 1541 the leading master builder (João de Castilho) had already arrived, while another (Diogo de Torralva) was sent to choose the location, and finally an Italian engineer (Benedetto da Ravenna) was called and sent along with another Portuguese master builder (Miguel de Arruda) to Ceuta and Mazagan in order to decide the building design features.

[26] Holanda's knowledge upon returning from his travels was undoubtedly used by members of the royal court, so he is intrinsically connected with the decision, at least as a key consultant. In fact, some important choices on the shape, location and measures had already been made before the Italian engineer arrived at Mazagan, as a careful survey of the data shows. This interpretation does not deny the fact that the Italian was indeed the person responsible for important design procedures; royal letters insist that following his notes was mandatory. Furthermore, it is even very likely that Holanda pressed the court to call a foreign engineer as he knew that adaptations from traditional patterns were quite useless. It is not necessary to exclude anyone from the project, or to identify a single author, as fortifications should not be understood as a single building or work of art but rather as a complex technical design that required a taskforce led by royal command. Hence we must assign some credibility to Holanda's words written in 1571, weighing them against the circumstances: it is reasonable to suppose that a young artist, after returning from studying fortifications abroad, came up with ideas (through his designs and models), which were discussed in court and later transformed via a design by military experts, and then finally constructed by building experts performing architectural tasks.

Writings and architectural theory from the 1540s

[27] Time in Italy would certainly have provided Francisco de Holanda with direct knowledge of new features of military architecture, built structures and landscapes, through the very act of travelling and seeing, measuring and drawing. Furthermore, he also met in person some of the figures who played a key role in his later writings, from whom he claimed to have learned about art and architecture. A truly impressive list of personalities is featured. Holanda writes:

[…] then, of those whom I met and knew still during my time in Rome, there was Master Antonio da Sangallo, architect to the pope, who built the fountain [well] in Orvieto and is now, with great diligence, completing the church of Saint Peter, and I saw the model by his hand, made of wood, very perfect, in the same church. I also received some instruction from Jacopo Meleguino, who is also architect to the pope. The last of these is Sebastiano Serlio of Bologna, who wrote about architecture, and who gave me his book with his own hands, in the city of Venice.59

[28] In less than a paragraph we learn from Holanda himself that he saw Antonio da Sangallo's model of St Peter's Basilica and maybe some of his architectural designs;60 in addition, he makes explicit mention of Jacopo Meleghino, at that time a very influential architect in the pontifical court (and the person in charge of antiquities at the Belvedere).61 Despite the brief words with which Holanda introduces his acquaintance with Sebastiano Serlio, two specific and significant facts were recorded: a personal visit in Venice and the gift of a book to Holanda.62 The gift book would certainly have been the Fourth, and maybe also the Third, although this is somewhat unlikely.63 However, even before the edition in 1551 of the Extraordinario libro…nel quale se dimostrano trenta porte di opera rustica, it seems that Francisco de Holanda may have seen some of its material, as he included some doors showing close affinities with Serlio's design in the Os desenhos das antigualhas, especially the door Holanda presents with the Italian title "Opera rustica de fortezze" (Fig. 6).64 It is also obvious that many of the city gates pictured in the fortress drawing reflect not necessarily Serlio's influence, but rather the profound impact of the triumphal arches from Antiquity (which Holanda also portrayed) on the Renaissance mindset. Yet it is worth underlining the strong and lasting effect on the design of fortresses and city gates, a task that Serlio thought had to be given to a civil architect.65

6 Francisco de Holanda, "Opera Rvstica de Fortezze and Triumphalis Arcvs Svper Portvm Anconitanvm", in: Os desenhos das antigualhas, 1538–1541, ink on paper, 46 x 35 cm, Real Biblioteca del Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Ms. 28-I-20, fol. 47v-48r (photo: Patrimonio Nacional)

[29] First and foremost, this passage of Holanda's text reveals that the architectural knowledge potentially acquired during this trip was far from restricted to a certain type of building; indeed, he does not mention any fortresses here. On the contrary, architecture is not considered separately from other art activities and skills, an attitude that was a distinctive facet of the Renaissance and very common among cultural players in the sixteenth century.

[30] Holanda's time in Rome (and other cities), however, included some less obvious encounters. First of all, his meetings with Michelangelo, largely described in the Dialogues in Rome and the letters that they exchanged with each other,66 provide the most prominent link, undoubtedly securing Holanda's place in international historiography. The role of Michelangelo in fortification issues is well known67 and his contribution to the siege of Florence in 1529 is reported in Dialogues in Rome; most notably, here Holanda puts into Buonarotti's mouth a long explanation on the utility of the art of painting in warfare,68 an ability later developed in his own writings, and one which he had already built upon during those years depicting foreign fortifications. Yet this should not detract from the fact that Michelangelo's influence on Francisco de Holanda's life was mainly artistic and theoretical, or more precisely the impact of such a strong and multi-layered artistic personality. Recent scholarship has amply demonstrated how Holanda turned Michelangelo into a sort of character for textual performance, using dialogue as a literary genre for rhetorical purposes.69

[31] Holanda describes the artistic and social circles that Michelangelo frequented in Rome, including 'dialogues' that are reported to have taken place in the courtyard of the church of San Silvestro al Quirinale. Another main character in this scene is the Duchess of Pescara, the learned Humanist poet Vittoria Colonna.70 We are informed that Holanda was introduced to her by Latanzio Tolomei, a cousin of Claudio Tolomei, the promoter of the Accademia della Virtù, which was formalised only in 1542. This potential connection with a Vitruvian studies discussion group was put forward by Dinsmoor and developed by Deswarte, who argues in detail that, whether Holanda directly participated or not in those celebrated Vitruvian sessions (which a short time later included Guillaume Philandrier and Vignola), he certainly could not have remained indifferent to the intellectual debate and all the questions related to the "architecture of the city".71

[32] These circumstances and the interconnections that arise from them were embodied in Holanda's writings and contributed to the development of architectural language in the Portuguese domain. The theoretical approachto architecture that seems to be lacking in many architects of his time, when they were officially still known as master builders, is undeniable. His writings on the concept of Desenho and its utility illuminate the problem of the project methodology and are still the only secure and remaining bond between fortification, architecture and art theory.

[33] Firstly, however, it is worth discussing how Holanda rated himself as an artist, bearing in mind that his relationships with his contemporaries seem not to have been easy, and that many of his acquaintances never mention him.72 One of his most surprising statements is included in his table of the "famous architects: the moderns", where the honourable sequence of Bramante, Baldassare Peruzzi, Antonio da Sangallo, Jacopo Meleghino, Serlio and "Don Antonio, who in Naples made San Telmo", finishes with number 7: "I, Francisco de Hollanda, who write these things, am the last of the architects".73 Given that none of his contemporaries seem to have agreed, we should ask why (other than high self-esteem) he fiercely asserted that he was an architect, or, more precisely, how exactly he used the word architect – was it with or without a professional meaning?

[34] The manuscript Da pintura antiga may be regarded as an ambitious effort guided by the Vitruvian De architectura, and not so much by Alberti's De pictura (c. 1435),74 which Holanda had probably not read by then.75 However, it is likely that during his time in Rome he became aware that the Italian translation was under preparation.76 One way or another, the fact is that Holanda ignores the Albertian theoretical and textual structure, so that his manuscript takes a somewhat unconventional form;77 a certain kind of detachment may have provided a degree of personal freedom and the emergence of original traits. Writing in "linguagem portugues", he may have seen his efforts as pioneering, which they undoubtedly were.

[35] Holanda's manuscript relies on different sources, among which Vitruvius' De architectura was one of the most important and influential. After all, this was the Renaissance classical paradigm for treatises on architecture and on art, and had long exerted an influence on all forms of writing relating to the technical arts.78

[36] Yet De architectura does not fully explain the structure of Holanda's text, nor why his author claims to be an architect, in addition to be a painter. Much indeed is taken from Vitruvius, and the Roman author is followed closely in the chapter on the proportions of the human body,79 as well as in the sections on other concepts, such as decorum and perspective.80 Holanda does also cite some other modern references, such as the De sculptura by Pomponio Gauricus, which he relies on to a partial extent,81 and a little of Luca Pacioli82 and the German "Albert Dürer, a man who in his style possessed very great perfection, also wrote in German on proportion, and others that I have not seen".83 Yet fundamentally Vitruvius is a source of inspiration and citation of the classical authority, addressing the most widespread topics in artistic and literary life at court, as in the case of the Naturalis Historia by Pliny the Elder.84 Bringing out his Humanist education, Holanda was mainly concerned with raising the status of painting, which resulted in a truly original and heterogeneous book. Vitruvius' treatise provided the most comprehensive and authoritative guidance, among other useful sources. This is evident when Holanda insists on comparing the different column proportions given by Vitruvius and Serlio, while also bringing Pliny into the debate.85

[37] For Holanda, architecture is the preferred metaphor bonding the two main subjects, antiquity and religion, including the search for conciliation between paganism and Christianity. Indeed, the appeal of architectural allegories and literary allusions is not unusual among Portuguese Humanist writers, especially within a neo-platonic mystical mindset,86 and Holanda is no exception: the Domus Picturae, the Deos Pintor (God as a Painter), Summo Inventor of the Machine of the World. Despite Holanda's literary use of the concept of architecture (a feature that has already been examined),87 his On Antique Painting contains an important theoretical basis for early modern written architectural culture in Portuguese, which has not yet been fully understood, as I noted above.

[38] In order to support art theory, Holanda underlined the role played by the desenho (design/drawing),88 essential for both painting and architecture. In addition, architecture itself has a separate chapter on the "Pintura Architecta",89 a topic developed later (1571) through another text where the role of the drawing is taken further. Nevertheless, in On the Antique Painting the theory of the desenho as the basis for painting and architecture (and sculpture less explicitly) includes some level of ambiguity.

[39] Desenho is a foundational concept, understood as design, as invention and idea, two words Holanda uses with a neo-platonic meaning, despite some influence from Ciceronian notions.90 In the same way, several Vitruvian references are added between architecture as metaphor and architecture as invention and idea, albeit not in a very consistent way, mixing notions proper to painting and architecture. For instance, in Chapter VIII, "What sciences are of use to the painter", Holanda uses an obvious Vitruvian parallel, beginning with "geometry and mathematics, and perspective",91 to insert a qualification for the exercise of architecture:

Above all the draftsman or the painter of whom I speak shall be a master of architecture, more than any other modern mason, in order to know the order and symmetry of building, not only in order to be able to provide princes and masons with drawings and inventions for noble edifices and structures, with much greater perfection […] than any other mason, but also so that the buildings that he is called upon to paint, and the columns and elements of construction, the measures and correspondences will be perfect, and not incorrect, as happens in some parts.92

[40] Regardless of ambiguity and confusion, this sentence pieces together the profiles of different professionals and players involved in architectural work: draftsman, painter, mason, and the prince, of course. The position of the architect is not strictly stated in this mixed set of roles. Yet Holanda was fully aware of the intellectual nature of the architect's work, as inventor of (perfect) architecture. The issue concerned who should or could play the role of architect. In the mid-sixteenth century, a cultivated courtier would have understood that the designer of an architectural invention might act as an architect. In this case the designer could be an artist, and a painter would perform the task, as Holanda and his Italian acquaintances clearly understood. Holanda reflects the same ambiguity we see elsewhere. The emergence of the professional status of the architect was still ongoing and Holanda provides (as in the field of fortifications) a framework for the in-between state.

[41] Therefore, when he gathers specific knowledge on architecture and names two separate chapters "Da pintura architecta" (Architect Painting rather than Painting as Architect), we must be aware that here the word architect is used more as an adjective than a noun, denoting more skill than profession. Taking certain Vitruvian topics as his basis, he argues (not always completely coherently) that architecture is almost an extension of painting: "Architecture is also an enterprise of painting […]. And I compare the architecture and I call it painting embodied with gross materials".93 These statements, which express some equivalence with the painter-draftsman as inventor, allow us to somehow understand why Holanda claimed to be an architector. In a quite intricate sentence he also states that this designer should "allow other architects to make a living" while still retaining the opportunity to serve the prince through "design and invention"; we may also note the ambiguity when he states that the draftsman (desenhador), as a painter-designer, should tolerate "other architects" (master builders' officers, presumably) finishing (the design) on his drawing (desenho) and heading the building works. Indeed, he insists that the prime art is desenho (design).94 Regardless of any doubt relating to the meanings, this is the very first time (1548) that the architect's profile is stated in Portuguese, and specifically in relation to art theory.

Writings and design theory from the 1570s

[42] Despite several possible levels of interpretation, from architecture as metaphor to the common Vitruvian references, the most important or, at least, the most authentic contribution of Holanda's writings is the creation of an autonomous theory of design in a different phase of his life, and probably after reading texts such as Vasari's Vite.95 Design is fundamental as the primary bond between architecture and painting. Understood as invention or at least idea, design takes on a statute on its own and presents itself as synonymous with the (divine) act of creation.

[43] The clear theoretical ambition of his first texts from the 1540s would be developed in a second stage. Francisco de Holanda was by then a mature man, although not yet elderly. The political and cultural environment had undergone deep changes and the ideology of the Catholic Reformation was embodied in the Infante and cardinal Henry (King John III's brother), who became regent before the young King Sebastian ruled by himself, and also after the latter's tragic death in 1578. Holanda's texts keep the neo-platonic conception of idea, but nuances and misunderstandings are detected in some word games between author, censor and reader.96 The text, dating from 1571 and known by its short heading Da ciência do desenho (On the Science of Design), has a much longer and more elucidative title that reveals its purpose: Memorandum to the Most Serene and Most Christian King Sebastian on the Usefulness of the Science of Design and Understanding of the Art of Painting, to the Christian State, Both in Peace and War.97

[44] This "brief notebook"98 is presented to the highest patron as a recommendation along with the work about Lisbon's urban renewal (Da fábrica que falece à cidade de Lisboa), which is discussed below. Despite its brevity, the contents is not reduced to a summary or simplification of Da pintura antiga. Holanda's intent was obviously to gain royal favour, yet the outcome is much more homogeneous and less wordy than his earlier work, and clarifies previous reasons for greater efficacy. Indeed, the title alone contains three customary aspects: the understanding of design as science in the sixteenth-century sense of intellectual knowledge or liberal art, the utility or use of the drawing as a method for design transfer and the topic of (public) service to the Christian Republic.

[45] Some slippage or permeability in the definitions of idea, design, sketch or draft, and model are evident in parts of Da pintura antiga, giving rise to an equivalence between design and drawing.99 In Da ciência do desenho this essential distinction is fully clarified, and Holanda adds explanations: as the science "[…] which is named design [desenho], and not drawing [debuxo] neither painting […]."100 This point is particularly important in Portuguese, as these words and their semantics were not yet stable: moreover, it was Holanda who also introduced and disseminated the word design [desenho] in the fields of architecture and art, precisely through the Italian word disegno.101 While this is not an inherent feature within the European context, the way Holanda pushes the use and scope of the design is not entirely ordinary. He often repeats the expression how much it is useful, or in a more literal translation how much it serves, using the present tense. Yet despite its standard literary form, Holanda aims to fulfil a theory of total design, as the practice of invention and ideation, a conceptual and experimental tool that should encompass all kind of objects, from the city to the king's sceptre.

7 Francisco de Holanda, [Formation of military squadrons], in: Lembrança […] de quanto serve a ciência do desenho […], 1571, ink on paper, 21.1 x 15.5 cm, Library of the National Palace of Ajuda, Lisbon, Ms. 52-XII-24, fol. 44r-44v (photo: Direcção Geral do Património Cultural)

[46] Of course, Holanda was wanting to please the new king, who was young and obsessed with military affairs, and thus he inserted a special chapter, "On how much it serves the understanding of painting and design in war time […]".102 In the wake of the celebrated Il cortegiano by Baldassare Castiglione this was commonplace, as were the quotations from the classics, such as Vegecius's De re militari, Julius Caesar's Commentaries, and also Vitruvius. Nevertheless, Holanda's contribution to the renewed language of fortifications is significant. He returns to the topic and the vocabulary he used in his earlier book, especially in relation to Michelangelo's advice, gathering new military objects and features, and new vocabulary, in the same way that he drew new fortifications and landscapes. As in peaceful times, from land surveying to the details of a flag, war also required the full design of space.

[47] Hence all these topics are reworked (over and above just being updated) in the booklet Da ciência do desenho (with less literary discourse than the Dialogues in Rome) in order to stress the role of design in warfare:

I want to say this design of which I write: […] that emperors at war have a design to set up their camp in such a province, or to fight with their army such a city, or to make such a fortress, long before they make it, having already made the design in the secret deliberation of the understanding.103

[48] Subsequently, to better explain his arguments, Holanda cited examples and personal commentaries that provide information that can be cross-checked against his life, especially concerning the fortifications he drew in Spain, France and Italy. His well-known reference to his authorship of the fortress of Mazagan is one of these allusions. Holanda also tried to cultivate military affairs to the best of his ability. Thus, his rhetorical and theoretical statements accompany and support the ideological discourse proper to a Portuguese courtier. Presenting this in the only illustrations of this notebook, he shows the design by words and drawings.

[49] These images have their share of originality, if not eccentricity. Holanda designed some options for the formation of military squadrons, one naval and another for ground forces (Fig. 7). Subtitles give the geographical location, the North African coastline, to please King Sebastian. The first one shows a convoy of ships forming a Greek cross in the sea and the other displays a landscape with different cities sketched and a gigantic, human-shaped army – the warrior with shield and spear raised – made of tiny pictures of infantry and cavalry soldiers, lancers, tents, firearms, banners… The movement of armies is naturally a key topic in the art of war, and is usually subjected to tactical and logical discourse, but instead Holanda offers a fanciful and fiery image not meant to be transferred to real life.

[50] On the contrary, these drawings reflect another intention, namely to place an emphasis on the symbolic value of the image in its concrete details, which brings us to the domain of iconology. Holanda uses design, drawing and architecture as iconological signs,104 to be taken into consideration in order to interpret these military illustrations. When describing his purpose, he even proclaims "[…] the desire I have to paint a holy image of Our Lady of War".105 It is also apparent that he truly wishes to retain a certain level of vagueness, such that the third and final (emblematic) image is entitled Inigma.106

8 Francisco de Holanda, "Moncallier", in: Os desenhos das antigualhas, 1538–1541, ink on paper, 46 x 35 cm, Real Biblioteca del Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Ms. 28-I-20, fol. 50v (photo: Patrimonio Nacional)

[51] In short, Holanda clarified and improved in these later works subjects that he chose for representation in his earlier writings and drawings. In Da ciência do desenho, and specifically in regard to military topics, he demonstrated his concern as a courtier to serve his king. More than a literary statement, de re militari culture was embodied in the courtier's mind; in spite of its quite urban social profile, the courtier would retain his background as a member of the nobility and would receive a grounding as a warrior. Moreover, the imagery of military affairs and its connection with Antiquity made the subject quite attractive to Renaissance artists, even for those far removed from the army, as was the case with Serlio or Palladio, who worked on the depiction of ancient military subject.107 By that time martial motifs and army movements were increasingly playing an essential and regulated role in public festivities and ceremonies, in the form of parades, army exercises, jousts and games.108 Francisco de Holanda was acquainted with such activities, as we may see in a drawing (Fig. 8) from his Italian travels that displays a duel. It is no mere coincidence that he includes a small, sketchy self-portrait.109 Holanda was part of this world, he was both a courtier and an artist, yet his legacy resists a neat fit into either of those categories.

The courtier's profile and the Construction for the city of Lisbon

[52] When discussing Holanda's personality, studies usually refer to a deep feeling of disenchantment, if not a certain bitterness, that is reflected in the second phase of his writings. Although this essay will not add to this discussion, it is worth addressing the matter, as it reveals the mistrust between him and the Portuguese artistic milieu, and goes some way towards explaining his frustration in trying to achieve a desired output and recognition during his lifetime.110 This isolated position may even reflect the failure to have his books printed,111 although we must also recall the pressure of the Catholic Reformation: the number of his bibliographical sources included in the index of the Portuguese Inquisition is telling.112

[53] In the 1550s, Holanda had some royal acknowledgment, being awarded a position as a "gentleman-knight" (cavaleiro-fidalgo) and receiving successive mercies (payments), a situation that changed during the first regency of the prince-cardinal Henry.113 However, the former royal recognition did not result in any major architectural or even artistic commissions.114 He was paid as a member of the households of princes, indicating that some of his services were provided to the royal family. Some contemporary recognition is discernible,115 but only among scholars, rather than artists and architects, his presumed peers.116 Indeed, his connection with architectural culture is literary-based, rather than theoretical, as is also the case for other Humanist writers of the Portuguese Renaissance.

[54] Although Holanda regarded himself as an architect, that figure was not universally respected; some cultural circles, such as the satirical theatre, mocked the architect portraying him as the "devil in Italian dress."117 The creation of such a persona somehow signalled a distrust of certain foreigners, who were seen as buoyed up by theory and thus pretentious. Holanda did not fit in at court or in artistic workshops. All his potential involvement in the process of designing real buildings, such as the Mazagan fortress, is frustrated by material evidence. Nevertheless, if we search in the archives for architectural drawings from sixteenth-century Portugal we find almost none, with the exception of Holanda's.

[55] It is still difficult to understand the entire scope of Da fábrica que falece à cidade de Lisboa (On the Construction that the City of Lisbon Lacks). First of all, it is hard to describe and categorize the book, in which the visual language is stronger than the textual discourse. Secondly, the title has some subtleties, not only in translation: the whole city is summoned but it is not easy to perceive the kind of intervention he advocates. Thirdly, we may try to understand this book as Holanda's own proposal for rejuvenating the capital city and to some extent as the practical anticipation of the theoretical level of On the Science of Design.

9 Francisco de Holanda, "Lembrança das portas que falecem a Lysboa", in: Da fabrica que faleçe há cidade de Lysboa, 1571, ink on paper, 21.1 x 15.5 cm, Library of the National Palace of Ajuda, Lisbon, Ms. 52-XII-24, fol. 8r (photo: Direcção Geral do Património Cultural)

[56] Comprising thirty-two folios, around half of the pages of the codex bear only images, black ink drawings on paper, but Holanda often inscribes the text in the sketch panorama, stressing the visual unity, despite its division into chapters on different urban topics. The work is not a single type of book. It is not a treatise on urban planning or urban design; it could be a report or memorandum from an artist to his king, yet its implicit urban theory, indicates that it is not just this. Finally, if we understand it as a proposal for the renewal of the city and its major spots, it soon becomes apparent that Holanda's design proposal is useless and almost utopian. Its originality gives rise to a paradoxical game. And in spite of it all, this is the first book where both words and drawings are used to present an urban design concept and proposal for Lisbon.

[57] In the 1970s Jorge Segurado, himself an architect and the most ardent admirer of Holanda, famously stated that he was the first Portuguese urban planner.118 Yet later historians did not share this anachronistic excitement. The truth is that Holanda does not feature a street layout or any general or sector-based plan; his design proposals only include monumental and unfeasible architecture, and he does not even master perspective accurately. Once again, despite all of this, it is undeniable that here Holanda was attempting an urban theory based on a specific place (Lisbon), thus moving away from the utopian model. He is fully aware that his work is not an architectural treatise and he introduces the manuscript as a notebook, adding to the title On the Construction that the City of Lisbon Lacks a long heading in the foreword: "Memorandum to the most Serene and most Christian King Sebastian on the fortification and repair of Lisbon".119

[58] Holanda begins the book by recalling his journey to Italy (always stated upfront as the guiding thread of his intellectual and working life), and then claims Vitruvian credentials: the prologue begins by presenting King Sebastian as Alexander the Great and the author as the architect Dinocrates, thus making reference to the famous literary episode from Vitruvius' Book II prologue, as he had done years before in the Da pintura antiga. In short, Holanda positions his proposal at the highest rhetorical level.120 He states his theory of design for the better organisation of the republic, thus grounding its formalisation in drawing and invention. What he proposes, or makes visible, is not only one (or his) idea of the city, but the concrete images of construction, building work or fabric.121 He balances the strength of the action with an emphasis on what is missing. Furthermore, when adding the subtitle "on the fortification and repair of Lisbon", he clarifies that both the idea and the materiality of the city rely upon its defences and also on the ability to withstand up renewal in an almost literal sense – making the city new again.

[59] Another layer of meaning is uncovered if we consider how Holanda's drawing practice was a rhetorical graphic performance aimed at giving expression to his theory, ranging in scale from the architectural monument and its landscape to the tabernacle in a church. However, despite not being very clear about this issue, it seems quite obvious that Holanda did not expect to be taken seriously in relation to urban building practice,122 as his images are essentially allegoric statements where symbolic thought largely prevails. He wanted to impress his patron and learned peers with his inventive capacity as an architect who was also a proper courtier, as opposed to the “other architects” to whom he refers in Da pintura antiga.

[60] Actually, the first drawing is the figure of Lisbon exhibiting the symbols of the mythical urban foundation, portrayed as a queen of the seas.123 In the same way, after a summary of the city's history and the issue of bastioned fortifications, he includes a chapter "On the city of soul first and its fortress", using the very word fortress as synonym for strength. Deswarte refers to the neo-platonic matrix that allows Lisbon to be seen as the New Rome, in a reverse of the Mirabilia Urbis tradition.124 The search for an appropriate urban image for Lisbon is the book's main focus, so the image required for the renewal should be derived from the design of monumental edifices according to the ancient model, the absence of which ostensibly betrayed the city's actual essence.

[61] Of twenty-eight fully illustrated pages, eleven are dedicated to military architectural structures. The urban renewal program begins precisely with the fortification of Lisbon, as the city and its defences were not detachable entities. At first sight, the various drawings relating to this subject reflect utopian or impractical proposals; John Bury has already underlined the sui generis monumentality and disproportionate extension of the defences depicted here by Holanda, which he sees as counter to reality and topography. Nevertheless, Holanda understands both the general problem that fortifications pose for the representation of the city and also specific concerns.

[62] He begins the architectural exhibition with the city gates (Fig. 9), one of the favourite themes for architects, where military and civil meaning are bonded together. The entrance to the city is designed as a monumental façade, not exactly through an elevation, but applying the perspective view common to all his drawings. Beyond demonstrating the possible influence of Serlio's Extraordinario libro di architettura,125 this drawing conveys Holanda's delight in drawing rusticated stone variations and flanked turrets, especially if we remember he knew these specific places in the medieval urban walls of a city in expansion.

[63] Military city gates once again became the celebratory urban entrance, at the exact interface between aesthetic statement and security technology, the portal and the opening.126 Both drawings and text demonstrate the author's criteria and sources – again, the buildings he had seen and drawn during his travels a long time ago,127 turning this book into another source of information about those former famous drawings and at the same time making the image of Lisbon a desired reflection of the modern city in an ancient mould.

10 Francisco de Holanda, "Lembrança dos muros e bastiães que falecem ha cidade de Lysboa da parte da terra / doutros baluartes e bastiães da parte do mar", in: Da fabrica que faleçe há cidade de Lysboa, 1571, ink on paper, 21.1 x 15.5 cm, National Palace of Ajuda Library, Lisbon, Ms. 52-XII-2,4, fol. 8v-9r (photo: Direcção Geral do Património Cultural)

[64] By carefully reading and looking at Da fabrica, we realise that there are two different discourses, besides the contrast between graphic and textual means. One visual discourse performed by all the drawings is the abundance of creative memories and unreal ideas, against the other, the textual description where Holanda's considerations are reasonable and critical regarding the real existence of Lisbon, thus composing a memorandum of its own.

[65] However, several drawings include both angles. The drawing that best reveals both of these tendencies is the only one with an entire city overview (Fig. 10). This image is especially effective as it also allows different urban readings: the ideal city at the top with the land-side city walls (an impossible straight curtain with regular bastions and moats) and his proposed innovation at the bottom, displaying the waterfront walls (using another scale and detailing the bastion's design), leaving between them the sketch of the real urban fabric overview.128

11 Francisco de Holanda, "Lembrança da montea do castello and Lembrança da planta do castello", in: Da fabrica que faleçe há cidade de Lysboa, 1571, ink on paper, 21.1 x 15.5 cm, Library of the National Palace of Ajuda, Lisbon, Ms. 52-XII-24, fol. 9v (photo: Direcção Geral do Património Cultural)

[66] This kind of multi-layered reading of Holanda's drawing allows another approach, albeit one that pays less heed to the real monument. For instance, the following drawings disclose a proposal for the existing castle to be transformed into a hexagonal citadel (Fig. 11), where Holanda intended to present a plan and elevation, yet a perspective view is still the result.129 Within the citadel he encloses a royal stronghold (Fig. 12) as a pure fantasy, playing a game of memories through several concentric spaces, and thus creating an improbable architectural depiction.130

12 Francisco de Holanda, "Lembrança de huns paços fortes dentro do castello que falecem a Lysboa", in: Da fabrica que faleçe há cidade de Lysboa, 1571, ink on paper, 21.1 x 15.5 cm, Library of the National Palace of Ajuda, Lisbon, Ms. 52-XII-24, fol. 10v-11r (photo: Direcção Geral do Património Cultural)

[67] Among Holanda's fortification drawings we find almost the reverse situation. Two single bastions are detailed (Fig. 13): one with orillons on the riverfront, the other with a triangular shape at the river mouth.131 Moreover, Holanda depicts a broad landscape view, including both riversides and indicating all the existing fortifications and the proposed ones,132 thereby underlining coastal and harbour defences as a major concern for Lisbon's protection (Fig. 14). Technical discussions on the updates of fortification systems appear not to be Holanda's concern. Beyond what is provided by these drawings, there is no consistent evidence substantiating contact with architectural treatises on fortification, which began to be printed in the years between 1540 and 1571, but required mathematical knowledge to be studied. Still Holanda included in his book bastions with round orillons, like the ones at the Mazagan fortress, which were not included in his travel drawings. The bastions designed by Holanda would have been too strange and old-fashioned in 1571, not due to the use of orillons per se, but rather in view of some details of design and technique, such as the parapet section and bastion's geometrical proportions.133 Holanda's drawings present a strange mix of practical planning and artistic invention.

13 Francisco de Holanda, "Lembrança de hum bastião forte onde foy o baluarte sobre o mar and Lembrança do bastiam nos cachopos", in: Da fabrica que faleçe há cidade de Lysboa, 1571, ink on paper, 21.1 x 15.5 cm, Library of the National Palace of Ajuda, Lisbon, Ms. 52-XII-24, fols. 11v, 13v (photo: Direcção Geral do Património Cultural)