London, South Kensington
23 April 2008
DÜRER, Albrecht (1471-1528). Beschryvinghe van de menschelijcke Proportionen. Arnhem: Jan Jansz, 1622. Small 2° (288 x 196mm). Title with large initials of Albrecht Dürer on title, numerous woodcut illustrations, a few folding (one folding leaf with long clean tear along fold, a fewer lower margins cropped, one lower margin with repair along fore-edge, browned throughout, occasional light marginal soiling). Modern vellum (new endpapers).
This is the first work 'to discuss the problems of comparative and differential anthropometry. Dürer held that the essence of true form was the primary mathematical figure (e.g., straight line, circle, curve, conic section) constructed arithmetically or geometrically, and made beautiful by the application of a canon of proportion. However, he was also convinced that beauty of form was a relative and not an absolute quality; thus the purpose of his system of anthropometry was to provide the artist with the means to delineate, on the basis of sheer measurement, all possible types of human figures' (Norman). cf. Norman 666; Gedeon pp. 20-25.
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