The Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci
|Courtesy of www.renaissanceart.org|
Leonardo subscribed to Vitruvius' theory of correlation between human proportion and geometry. Furthermore, he found the inner workings of the human body to be parallel to the working of the universe. It was a common theme in Leonardo's work to draw relation between man and nature.
The drawing features a man that Leonardo considered to be of ideal human proportion. He stands on an axis in two different positions. His arms and legs are spread showing the proportion of his body to the circle and square around them. Leonardo's sketch demonstrates his ability to blend art and mathematics.
In the attached text Leonardo writes that the intent of the piece was to study human proportions that had been first espoused by the architect Vitruvius. He lists measurements in relation to the human body such as a palm equalling four fingers, and a man equalling 24 palms. Vitruvius used this system of measurement when constructing his buildings.
Leonardo marked points that corresponded to Vitruvius' measurements with lines on his sketch. In its creation he uses his own observations about the scale of human bodies and adjusts his subject accordingly. The effect of the drawing for the viewer is an understanding of symmetry within the body, and the relation of that symmetry to the universe.