A detailed understanding of vascular anatomy is essential to facilitate appropriate decision-making by clinicians responsible for treating arteriovenous malformations (AVM) of the brain and dura. This work reviews the embryologic development of the cerebral vasculature, including the dural venous sinuses, with a focus on the relevant angioarchitecture. There is little doubt that dural AVM are acquired lesions; however, conflicting evidence exists regarding the pathophysiology of brain AVM. Patients described in this review provide support for both of the proposed mechanisms for the development of brain AVM (post-natal development compared to embryologic origin). Further work is required to improve our understanding of the pathophysiology of these lesions.