The Vitruvian Man in Renaissance Architecture

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The Vitruvian Man in Renaissance Architecture: Man’s image as a source of inspiration for architectural order, proportion and beauty. In the early stages of the Renaissance, notions regarding all aspects of art which included architecture began to evolve from the preceding cultural movement as Renaissance artists and architects sought for more simplistic forms of expression in comparison to the complex, geometrics that was utilized in the Middle Ages. The movement began on a scholarly level but was linked with technological, ecclesiastical and economic changes and given its European locality, it provided a powerful stimulus for the development of fine art and engineering. This was coupled with a concern to seek unity with the whole classical world of Greece and Rome. Artists and Architects in Italy began looking at ancient artefacts, structures and scriptures for inspiration in seek of a new ‘truth’ and thus Humanism was born. This study of classical culture shifted man’s interest from religion to himself as the human body became the subject of interest as they believed that “man is the measure of all things” in stark contrast to the prior emphasis on the secular. Humanism, similar to its Greek predecessor, sought to find the order of the universe and also a new order of architectural language. Figure 1. Marcus Vitruvius ‘De Architectura’ (The Ten books on Architecture), 15BC Figure 1. Marcus Vitruvius ‘De Architectura’ (The Ten books on Architecture), 15BC In the midst of this culturally changing landscape, a main contributor of this notion of mirroring the human proportions in line with architecture was the Roman mathematician, engineer and architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio who specifically established the proportions and orders that are now classified as ‘classical’ architecture. The renaissance rejected the “icommensurability, infinitudes, and despension of
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