E-Journal für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte
Tiller, Elisabeth

„Peroché dal corpo umano ogni mesura con sue denominazioni deriva“. Luca Paciolis De divina proportione (1509) und die mathematische Aneignung des Körpers

This paper discusses the ways in which Luca Pacioli established the body of architectural theory as a mirror of mathematical proportionality, the inner principles of the cosmos and universal harmony. During the last quarter of the 15th century the mathematician Pacioli met artists and architects such as Francesco di Giorgio Martini and Leonardo da Vinci. Pacioli’s De divina proportione reflects these acquaintances. The text, embedded in Euclidean and Neo-Platonic concepts, discusses a number of topics such as the golden ratio and the cosmic role of polyhedral solids. In its second part, Pacioli focuses on architecture and Vitruvius’ canon of proportion, which he interprets as the anthropomorphic and anthropometric matrix for the production of architectural space. In addition, Pacioli attempts to construe the male body as a model of cosmic beauty, which in turn can be described in a mathematical way. Thus, the Vitruvian homo ad circulum et quadratum becomes the divine apotheosis of basic geometrical forms. However, Pacioli also makes use of the metaphorical, narrative dimensions of the human body as practiced in architectural discourse of his time, linking his text in this way not only backwards to Vitruvius, but also forwards to Vesalius and the new, Renaissance knowledge of empirical anatomy.

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