Menschlicher Proportion

Albrecht Dürer.
Vier Bücher von menschlicher Proportion.
Nuremberg: Hieronymus Formschneyder for Albrecht Dürer’s widow, 1528. (BRA1017/A)

Dürer’s treatise on human proportions represented the culmination of nearly three decades of investigation into the anatomical workings and proportions of the human body – the first of its kind in northern European art. In numerous woodcut diagrams, Dürer developed a system that divided the height of the body into six equal units that were equivalent to the length from the top of the head to the shoulder, from the shoulder to the elbow, and so on. These units were subdivided into tenths, which in turn had three parts. Dedicated to Dürer’s friend Wilibald Pirckheimer, this work was not finished when the artist died on April 6, 1528. It was published posthumously for Agnes Dürer, the artist’s widow, with a Latin memorial composed by Pirckheimer in honor of Germany’s greatest artist.

Dürer's Last Books
Menschlicher Proportion