Della simmetria dei corpi hvmani, libri quattro
(On the symmetry of Human bodies, book four)
Albrecht Dürer, German (1471-1528)
In Venetia : Presso Domenico Nicolini, 1591.
Albrecht Dürer is one of the most famous Renaissance polymaths from northern Europe. Born in Germany in 1471, Dürer studied goldsmithing with his father before becoming an artist apprentice at age fifteen. A talented painter and printmaker, Dürer actively studied and published on subjects such as anatomy, botany, astronomy, geometry, and optics.
Dürer’s books included extensive imagery, as seen in these two editions. The Book on Human Proportions takes inspiration from Dürer’s interactions with Leonardo. Uniquely, however, Dürer focused his book on illustrating a variety of body shapes and sizes, including bodies of “non-normal” proportions with extra-long arms and legs. This book was useful in not only a scientific context, but also for budding artists who needed to master drawing accurate human bodies to establish themselves in the profession.