The Ten Books on Architecture, 3.3.13

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 3.3.12 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 3.4.1 ›››

Gwilt translation

13always remembering, that as the upper parts of columns are more distant from the eye, they deceive it when viewed from below, and that we must, therefore, actually add what they apparently lose. The eye is constantly seeking after beauty; and if we do not endeavour to gratify it by proper proportions and an increase of size, where necessary, and thus remedy the defect of vision, a work will always be clumsy and disagreeable. Of the swelling which is made in the middle of columns, which the Greeks call ἔντασις, so that it may be pleasing and appropriate, I shall speak at the end of the book.

Morgan translation

13These proportionate enlargements are made in the thickness of columns on account of the different heights to which the eye has to climb. For the eye is always in search of beauty, and if we do not gratify its desire for pleasure by a proportionate enlargement in these measures, and thus make compensation for ocular deception, a clumsy and awkward appearance will be presented to the beholder. With regard to the enlargement made at the middle of columns, which among the Greeks is called ἑντασις, at the end of the book a figure and calculation will be subjoined, showing how an agreeable and appropriate effect may be produced by it.