The Ten Books on Architecture, 1.2.2

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 1.2.1 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 1.2.3 ›››

Gwilt translation

2Fitness is the adjustment of size of the several parts to their several uses, and requires due regard to the general proportions of the fabric: it arises out of dimension (quantitas), which the Greeks call ποσότης. Dimension regulates the general scale of the work, so that the parts may all tell and be effective. Arrangement is the disposition in their just and proper places of all the parts of the building, and the pleasing effect of the same; keeping in view its appropriate character. It is divisible into three heads, which, considered together, constitute design: these, by the Greeks, are named ἰδέαι: they are called ichnography, orthography, and scenography. The first is the representation on a plane of the ground-plan of the work, drawn by rule and compasses. The second is the elevation of the front, slightly shadowed, and shewing the forms of the intended building. The last exhibits the front and a receding side properly shadowed, the lines being drawn to their proper vanishing points. These three are the result of thought and invention. Thought is an effort of the mind, ever incited by the pleasure attendant on success in compassing an object. Invention is the effect of this effort; which throws a new light on things the most recondite, and produces them to answer the intended purpose. These are the ends of arrangement.

Morgan translation

2Order gives due measure to the members of a work considered separately, and symmetrical agreement to the proportions of the whole. It is an adjustment according to quantity (in Greek ποσὁτης). By this I mean the selection of modules from the members of the work itself and, starting from these individual parts of members, constructing the whole work to correspond. Arrangement includes the putting of things in their proper places and the elegance of effect which is due to adjustments appropriate to the character of the work. Its forms of expression (in Greek ἱδἑαι) are these: groundplan, elevation, and perspective. A groundplan is made by the proper successive use of compasses and rule, through which we get outlines for the plane surfaces of buildings. An elevation is a picture of the front of a building, set upright and properly drawn in the proportions of the contemplated work. Perspective is the method of sketching a front with the sides withdrawing into the background, the lines all meeting in the centre of a circle. All three come of reflexion and invention. Reflexion is careful and laborious thought, and watchful attention directed to the agreeable effect of one’s plan. Invention, on the other hand, is the solving of intricate problems and the discovery of new principles by means of brilliancy and versatility. These are the departments belonging under Arrangement.