Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Dürer’s systems

Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471–1528)

Dürer’s suggestions for classical proportions in visual design were based on the ratios he found in the human body. The image above is taken from the exhibition Revealing the Body: The Art of Anatomy currently at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The label for this piece states:

Hjerin sind begriffen vier Bücher von menschlichen Proportion 
(Four books on human proportion)
Nürenberg: Hieronymus Formschneyder, 1528

Dürer’s systems were mathematical: Single parts of the body were measured and a ratio obtained, relating each of them to the total height. Another method was to divide the figure’s height into six parts, which could be used as modules for the construction of the whole being. Dürer’s manuscripts, published only after his death, set a trend and were imitated throughout the 16th century.

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