Vitruvius Teutsch is the first German translation of the Latin book Vitruvius, written by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio himself. However, there were many annotations made in the German translation, thus the author of Vitruvius Teutsch may be Walther Ryff, but Vitruvius is without a doubt more than a „co-author“. In the year 1543, which is the year Walther Ryff died, he published Vitruvius Teutsch, undoubtedly his most popular work. As an admirer of the building arts, I imagine Ryff published a German Version of the Latin classic because he wanted more people to get their hands on it and immerse in the world of Vitruvius’ architecture.
Vitruvius is meant to be an educational book, containing almost everything about architecture, that was important at the time of the publication of the Latin version. From the education of an architect to building materials and water supply infrastructures, the text is an accumulation of 10 different books, which tell of different architectural topics. The book reveals the ancients’ much wider concept and understanding of what architecture is, which includes mathematics, geometry, physics, and much more. In short, Vitruvius states that a successful architect should have both theoretical and practical knowledge, based on a thorough understanding of all sciences, arts, and even nature. The essence of Vitruvius beliefs is that buildings should always be three things: beautiful, stable, and useful.
The title includes illustrations to help clarify Vitruvius’ descriptions, Particularly those of technical matters, such as complex devices or proportionalities of columns. However, the focus lies on the written part of the book, as the illustrations seem to get less throughout the book.