click images for larger viewOn May 22nd, 1511 - at 3:00 p.m., I think, as he always liked to take the daily bacteria count from the Grand Canal around 2:00 - architect Fra Giovanni Giocondo published the "first illustrated architecture book ever to be printed." There was so much excitement that La Schiavona put Titian on hold just to go and take a look. By 4:00 p.m. Giocondo's shop was packed. By 5:00 p.m. it emptied out at word of a team of jugglers arriving at the Piazza San Marco, and by 6:00, after it became known that Giocondo's product was nothing new, but a reprint of a 1,500-year-old tome by Vitruvius, the book was showing up on the remainder tables right next to a stack of copies of la Divina Commedia, Illustrated for Dogs.
Chicago's cultural institutions have, nontheless, taken the 500th anniversary of Giocondo's publication of De Architectura libri decem, to put on the Festival of The Architecture Book 1511-2011.
Illustrated Architecture Books: Highlights from 500 Years of Theory and Practice a selection of architectural books from the past 500 years from Venice, Rome, Paris, London, Antwerp and Chicago. The library is open Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 4:30, Wednesdays to 7:00. Northwestern University, Loyola, and the U of C are also offering up their own exhibitions, with From Vernacular to Classical: The Perpetual Modernity of Palladio opening at Notre Dame June 10th, and The Story of a House opening at Glessner House on June 1st.
You can check out the festival and festival events on its website, here.