The Art of Fortification of Albrecht Dürer

By Tessa Morrison.

Published by The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: December 14, 2015 $US5.00

In 1525 there was a Peasant’s Revolt in Germany. Nuremberg, the hometown of Albercht Dürer, was threatened. This resulted in Dürer publishing Etliche Unterricht, zur Befestigung der Städte, Schlösser und Flecken in 1527, which is the earliest surviving manual on fortifications. This manual is directed to a powerful ruler and describes the building of a fortified city. He gave detailed directions into how to build the bastions to fortify a city, the layout of the ideal city, how to build a small hermitage fortifications and how to improve the fortifications of the city. The book is an amazing vignette of sixteenth-century life, its fears, desires for social reform and its architecture, and it highlights Dürer diversity in art, geometry, politics, philosophy, and engineering. In the age of Humanism, great artists such as Dürer, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo strove to develop scientific principles to form foundations of their designs and ideas. Dürer believed that geometry was the key to these principles and he applied these principles to his design of a fortified city. This paper considers the design of Dürer’s fortified city and asks if this was a new approach to creating a fortified city that led to or influenced the radial city plans of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Keywords: Albercht Dürer, Art of Fortification, Geometry, Design, Radial City Plans

The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies, Volume 14, Issue 1, March 2016, pp.13-25. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: December 14, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 928.513KB)).

Dr. Tessa Morrison

Research Fellow, The School of Architecture and Built Environment, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia