Some historians claim that the book «Des Jacobi Barozzi von Vignola Grund Regeln» was able to reach its significance because it manages to describe coherent rules concerning the columns in an accessible manner. The book uses simple mechanisms and illustration methods to explain the various elements and characteristic of the columns, although it seems like there is only a small amount of hierarchy in how the individual elements are portrayed. Even though some elements may be more significant for certain columns, most of them are described and illustrated with a similar amount of detail. This is the reason why I considered it unfitting to choose only one small element as a concept, since the extent of these single elements itself is one of characteristics of the book.
But one thing, a vast majority of the elements have in common, is proportion. Proportion is a concept which can be seen all the way throughout Vignola’s work. It is used to dictate the form of columns but also how they interact with each other and finally influence the appearance of a building. So, the use of proportion manifests itself in various scales and sizes. On the large side of the scale proportion is used to explain the placement of the columns and the amount of space in between them as a result. Another example is the thickness of the columns. Smaller elements are the size of the base or the chair of the columns. Clearly the sizes of these elements are not decided randomly. Quite the contrary is true, proportion plays a huge role in determining the scale of an element, since the relationship between these various parts is essential for correct proportion according to the rules described by Vignola. Besides the arrangement and the size of the elements proportion plays also into account while considering the shape of the column. As a fitting example for that, we can look at how Vignola compares the shape of the ionic column capital with a snail line, similar to the approach used in the Fibonacci sequence.
Furthermore, the importance of proportion also is highlighted by the fact, that most of the illustrations include a reference scale, which makes it easier to understand the dimensions of the concerning objects. The illustrations even often contain dimensioning markers including units. Proportion to me seems to be one of Vignola’s main concepts for establishing the five rules of the columns because in conclusion, he primarily uses the concept of proportion as a method to distinguish the five types of columns from each other, as well as emphasize their individual traits and characteristics.
Keywords: Proportion, Relationship, Dimensions