VITRUVIUS (80BC – 15BC)

Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, also known simply as Vitruvius, is an ancient roman engineer and architect. He was the first Roman architect to write surviving records of his studies and works.

Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, old picture.

Image source: https://mathnexus.wwu.edu

 

About His Life.

Little is known about Vitruvius’ life, except what can be gathered from his writings, which are rather obscure on the subject. He was born in a prominent roman family, and served the Roman army as a military engineer. His service likely included Gaul, Spain and North Africa. Since Vitruvius describes himself as an old man, it may be inferred that he was also active during the time of Julius Caesar. In his final years he received a generous pension by Augustus. The date of his death is unknown.


A deciption of Vitruvius presenting De Architectura to Augustus. Sebastian Le Clerc, 1684.

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org

 

What are his major works?

Vitruvius wrote De Architectura, probably around 15 BC and dedicated it to the emperor AugustusThe contents reveal the ancients’ much wider concept of what exactly is ‘architecture’ and it describes such topics as science, mathematics, geometry, astronomy, astrology, medicine, meteorology, philosophy, and the importance of the effects of architecture, both aesthetic and practical, on the everyday life of citizens. But the treatise is limited, since it is based primarly on Greek models, and there are some important omissions: notably amphitheatres, aqueduct arcades, and some of what we today might consider the greatest Roman buildings, such as Roman baths, are briefly described.

De Architectura (Daniele Barbaro edition). Vitruvius, 1557.

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However, the only building that we know Vitruvius worked on is the one he tells us about – a basilica built in 19 BC in Fanum Fortune (Fano). Today there is nothing left of it.

Greek house plan. Vitruvius.

Image source: http://www.basiccarpentrytechniques.com

 

 

What is his vision?

The Vitruvian picture of architecture is rooted in an empirical knowledge of creation, manufacture and craft. Vitruvius’ main concern was to write a useful manual. In Vitruvius’ view of architecture, nature is an ideal model, and he makes it an object of philosophical research. His goal was to present architecture as a worthy part of an encyclopedic program.

The ionic order compared with order of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. The Ten Books on Architecture, Vitruvius.

Image source: http://www.basiccarpentrytechniques.com

 

Who was influenced by Vitruvius?

From the Renaissance period onwards, the work of Vitruvius had an extraordinary impact on many creators, including Niccoli, Brunelleschi and Leon Battista Alberti. Leonardo da Vinci‘s most famous drawing, The Vitruvian Man, is based on the concept of proportions developed by Vitruvius. 16th century architect Palladio considered Vitruvius to be his master and guide.

Vitruvian Man, Vitruvius; illustrated edition by Cesare Cesariano, 1521

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org

Info source: http://www-groups.dcs.st-andrews.ac.uk

Info source: https://www.britannica.com

Info source: http://www.visual-arts-cork.com

Info source: http://penelope.uchicago.edu

Info source: http://www.vitruvius-pollio.com/

Info source:  https://plato.stanford.edu

Info source: http://www.ancient.eu

Info source: https://www.researchgate.net

Info source: https://en.wikipedia.org

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