Hello World! The Vitruvian Man
This sketch holds more secrets than just proportion. It is how man interacts with the material and spiritual. The square signifying the material and the circle signifying the spiritual. Both da Vinci and Vitruvius knew how to manipulate form for the best synergistic effect. So have a deeper look. Ask yourself what do you feel when viewing this drawing? Could the hand gestures or feet positions reveal anything else? Here is a tip: they do. With this study, one can begin to understand how man interacts with all around him. I use it now as a springboard into concepts of harmonization.
The Vitruvian Man is a sketch created by Leonardo da Vinci. It is based on the work of the architect Vitruvius. The drawing, which is in pen and ink on paper, depicts a male figure in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and simultaneously inscribed in a circle and square. The drawing and text are sometimes called the Canon of Proportions or, less often, Proportions of Man.
The drawing is based on the correlations of the IDEAL human proportions with geometry described by the ancient Roman Architect Vitruvius in Book III of De Architectura. Vitruvius described the human figure as being the principal source of proportion for the (Building) Orders. He believed the workings of the human body to be an analogy for “the workings of the universe.”
Vitruvius: reports about “Vetruvio” saying:
“if you open your legs enough that your head is lowered by one-fourteenth of your height and raise your hands enough that your extended fingers touch the line of the top of your head, know that the centre of the extended limbs will be the navel, and the space between the legs will be an equilateral triangle“.
The lower section of text gives these proportions:
- the length of the outspread arms is equal to the height of a man
- from the hairline to the bottom of the chin is one-tenth of the height of a man
- from below the chin to the top of the head is one-eighth of the height of a man
- from above the chest to the top of the head is one-sixth of the height of a man
- from above the chest to the hairline is one-seventh of the height of a man.
- the maximum width of the shoulders is a quarter of the height of a man.
- from the breasts to the top of the head is a quarter of the height of a man.
- the distance from the elbow to the tip of the hand is a quarter of the height of a man.
- the distance from the elbow to the armpit is one-eighth of the height of a man.
- the length of the hand is one-tenth of the height of a man.
- the root of the penis is at half the height of a man.
- the foot is one-seventh of the height of a man.
- from below the foot to below the knee is a quarter of the height of a man.
- from below the knee to the root of the penis is a quarter of the height of a man.
- the distances from below the chin to the nose and the eyebrows and the hairline are equal to the ears and to one-third of the face.
The points determining these proportions are marked with lines on the drawing. Below the drawing itself is a single line equal to a side of the square and divided into four cubits, of which the outer two are divided into six palms each, two of which have the mirror-text annotation “palmi”; the outermost two palms are divided into four fingers each, and are each annotated “diti”.