Harbour scene, 1548.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Woodcut by Peter Flotner showing a harbour with associated buildings and machines - note the chain across the mouth of the harbour. Illustration from 'Vitruvius Teutsch', the first German translation of 'De architectura' (Of architecture) by the Roman architect and engineer Vitruvius Pollio (1st century BC), published in Nuremberg in 1548. This edition included a commentary by the mathematician and doctor Walther Ryff (d 1548) and is especially esteemed for its fine illustrations by the artist and wood engraver Peter Flotner. It is likely he cut his own blocks, although this has not been proven. These images represent contemporary knowledge from the Renaissance. Besides architecture, the book deals with a wide range of scientific and engineering topics.