Being Reintroduced to Vitruvius

When I was in college, I studied architecture, and even though I don't practice architecture today, it's a field that greatly influences what and how I make my jewelry.


When I got into the architecture program many of the things that I'm interested with my jewelry, were what I wanted to do with architecture. I saw the possibilities to travel, to study history, and to design something beautiful. The scale of my work has changed, but those desires are still prominent themes throughout my work.


During my time in architecture, my mom picked up a book called The Ten Books on Architecture by the Ancient Roman Vitruvius. I have always had a love for Roman architecture, especially the Pantheon, so I was pretty excited to get the book. To give you a little history, it was a handbook written by an architect named Marcus Vitruvius Pollio. After reviewing Caesar's building plans for the city of Rome, he realized that there wasn't any documentation on how to design and build a city. Architecture up until that point was almost bardic in nature where it was passed down orally, or studied by looking to the buildings from the past.

The Pantheon in Rome, Italy

The book became the architectural manual for hundreds of years thereafter, and in fact Vitruvius' excerpt on proportions inspired Leonoardo da Vinci's famous Vitruvian Man drawing. Architecture, art, music, and medicine were fields that in ancient times (and through the Renaissance) were practiced in tandem to one another and often a finding in one field would impact another field so this book by Vitruvius was of extreme importance.


I recently returned to my copy of The Ten Books and had completely forgotten about his rule that all buildings should have "firmitas,utilitas, andvenustas," meaning that all buildings should have strength, functionality, and beauty. It has been long enough for me to have forgotten these words, but it felt like they had been embedded in my subconscious when my mom first got me that book. I felt such a connection to the past as I was reading them over again, but also it feels so ingrained in what I make, that I felt like I was being revealed or that my purpose had been boiled down into 3 words. There was a sense of reassurance that came over me, that these qualities have been paramount to design since the very beginning, and it made me happy to read them again.


That's it for today!


Thanks for reading,

Caitlin



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