The intersecting aesthetics of crossed borders : Albrecht Dürer’s ideal city plan and the 1581 Native map of Cholula

Access full-text files




Marino, Allison

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Many know Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) for his expertly rendered woodcuts and treatises on art and perspective. Fewer know him for his work as an urban planner, a role evidenced by his plan for an ideal city contained within his fortification treatise of 1527. It is through this plan that we gain a unique understanding of the artist’s perception of the socio-political environment in which he worked, which was made tumultuous by the uncertainties of the Reformation and the recent Peasants’ Revolts. In this paper, I propose a new approach to understanding the formal elements that characterize Dürer’s ideal city plan: analyzing the visual congruities between it and the Native-made Relaciones map of Cholula from 1581. Examining how squareness, order, and centrality functioned in these maps, which were produced as direct responses to distinctly urgent socio-political stimuli, as means of promoting the productivity and cooperation that characterized these towns, provides a deeper understanding of the inherent motivations for and effects of these artistic techniques.



LCSH Subject Headings