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Marcus Vitruvius Pollio

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Marcus Vitruvius Pollio

Pioneering Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio was born a free Roman citizen; little is known about his life. Public assumption believed Marcus Pollio served the Roman army in Gaul and Spain under Julius Caesar. Clues point to his involvement in designing weaponry and instruments of warfare for sieges.

Marcus Vitruvius Pollio inspired Leonardo Da Vinci. He authored “De Architectura”, presently known as the ten books of architecture dedicated to Emperor Augustus.

“De Architectura” stated structure must possess firmitas, utilitas, venustas- meaning it must be strong, utilitarian and aesthetically pleasing. Marcus Vitruvius Pollio viewed architecture as an extension of nature. Understanding structure, proportion and nature, Marcus Vitruvius Pollio created his greatest art piece – “The Human Body”.
Marcus’ ideal image of male body proportion led Da Vinci to develop the Vitruvian Man, considered to be the guide map in determining ideal male form.

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Alvi Armani Vitruvian Design

For Nature has so planned the human body that the face from the chin to the top of the forehead and the roots of the hair is a tenth part… .And by using these, ancient painters and famous sculptors have attained great unbounded distinction….
“For without symmetry and proportion, no temple can have a regular plan….it must have an exact proportion worked out after the fashion of the members of a finely shaped human body…”

Da Vinci, the only Renaissance artist, carried numerous anatomical studies when contemplating proportional theories of Marcus Vitruvius Pollio. His proportional human figure corresponded with circles and squares. Mathematician Luca Pacioli published “Devine Proportion” in 1509 illustrating “Vitruvian Man” created by Da Vinci. “Divine Proportion” a.k.a. ‘golden ratio’ occurs in many mathematical contexts. Archimedean and platonic solids are geometrically constructible using a straightedge and compass. His calculations were derived using the limit of ratios of consecutive terms in the Fibonacci number sequence 1,2,3,5,8,13 … Each term beyond the second equals the sum of the previous two, and it is also the value of the most basic of continued fractions. Modern mathematics displays golden ratio occurrence in the description of fractals. Figures exhibit self-similarity, playing important roles in studying chaos and dynamical systems.

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Alvi Armani Vitruvian Design

Human physical beauty encompasses Leonard’s “Vitruvian Man” located in the Gallerie dell’ Academia, Venice, Italy.

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