Friday Night Gallery Chat, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” What A Guy, He Had Everything!

” A Pale Green Mermaid Blog”

 

Good Evening, How is everything going?

Tonight let’s dissect the meaning of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man drawing.  Leonardo was a part of the Renaissance -humanism movement.  He wrote many notebooks in his lifetime that combined art and science totaling over 13,000 pages.

Now look at the image below, 

Vitruvian Man
Artist Leonardo da Vinci
Year c. 1487
Type Pen and ink with wash over metalpoint
on paper
Dimensions 34.4 cm × 25.5 cm (13.5 in × 10.0 in) 

Image from Wikipedia

you probably have viewed this image perhaps in an ad – it has been recycled quite often and touches many aspects of our culture down through the centuries.

It is the depiction of a man in a circle, inside a square.  Looking harder at the image you can see that there are patterns that are repeated.  Patterns that represent ratios.  For example, the length of his outspread arms are equal to his height, similar ratios such as this are repeated through out the drawing.

These ratios are found in nature as well, sush as the ratios found in  the interior of a shell spiral laying on any beach. 

The drawing is an examination of the connection between art and science, and the universal patterns that connect man and nature at the most basic level.

By using the circle and the square (that have different center points) it shows that the GOLDEN RATIO persits even if the pattern in nature changes, thus connecting man to all that appears around him.

Leonardo’s  portrayal  of the relationship of man to nature and in turn the geometric foundation lying within the structure of all life is a many faceted subject  that could be  researched on a variety of levels- here are a few,

sacred geometry

the golden mean (ratio)

going deeper, how music color and light are essentially made  up of the same substance  – vibration or tone. or Ommm the universal sound for life.

Have some mental fun tonight and have a cone flowered evening!

 

Note: Info on Vitruvius

Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (born c. 80–70 BC, died after c. 15 BC) was a Roman writer, architect and engineer (possibly praefectus fabrum during military service or praefect architectus armamentarius of the apparitor status group), active in the 1st century BC. By his own description[1] Vitruvius served as a Ballista (artilleryman), the third class of arms in the military offices. He likely served as chief of the ballista (senior officer of artillery) in charge of doctores ballistarum (artillery experts) and libratores who actually operated the machines.[2] He has been called by some ‘the world’s first known engineer.[3]

From Leonardo Da Vinci’s notes:

According to Leonardo’s notes in the accompanying text, written in mirror writing, it was made as a study of the proportions of the (male) human body as described in Vitruvius:

  • a palm is the width of four fingers
  • a foot is the width of four palms (i.e., 12 inches)
  • a cubit is the width of six palms
  • a pace is four cubits
  • a man’s height is four cubits (and thus 24 palms)
  • the length of a man’s outspread arms is equal to his height
  • the distance from the hairline to the bottom of the chin is one-tenth of a man’s height
  • the distance from the top of the head to the bottom of the chin is one-eighth of a man’s height
  • the distance from the bottom of the neck to the hairline is one-sixth of a man’s height
  • the maximum width of the shoulders is a quarter of a man’s height
  • the distance from the middle of the chest to the top of the head is a quarter of a man’s height
  • the distance from the elbow to the tip of the hand is a quarter of a man’s height
  • the distance from the elbow to the armpit is one-eighth of a man’s height
  • the length of the hand is one-tenth of a man’s height
  • the distance from the bottom of the chin to the nose is one-third of the length of the head
  • the distance from the hairline to the eyebrows is one-third of the length of the face
  • the length of the ear is one-third of the length of the face
  • the length of a man’s foot is one-sixth of his height

Leonardo is clearly illustrating Vitruvius’ De architectura 3.1.2-3 which reads:

For the human body is so designed by nature that the face, from the chin to the top of the forehead and the lowest roots of the hair, is a tenth part of the whole height; the open hand from the wrist to the tip of the middle finger is just the same; the head from the chin to the crown is an eighth, and with the neck and shoulder from the top of the breast to the lowest roots of the hair is a sixth; from the middle of the breast to the summit of the crown is a fourth. If we take the height of the face itself, the distance from the bottom of the chin to the under side of the nostrils is one third of it; the nose from the under side of the nostrils to a line between the eyebrows is the same; from there to the lowest roots of the hair is also a third, comprising the forehead. The length of the foot is one sixth of the height of the body; of the forearm, one fourth; and the breadth of the breast is also one fourth. The other members, too, have their own symmetrical proportions, and it was by employing them that the famous painters and sculptors of antiquity attained to great and endless renown.
Similarly, in the members of a temple there ought to be the greatest harmony in the symmetrical relations of the different parts to the general magnitude of the whole. Then again, in the human body the central point is naturally the navel. For if a man be placed flat on his back, with his hands and feet extended, and a pair of compasses centred at his navel, the fingers and toes of his two hands and feet will touch the circumference of a circle described therefrom. And just as the human body yields a circular outline, so too a square figure may be found from it. For if we measure the distance from the soles of the feet to the top of the head, and then apply that measure to the outstretched arms, the breadth will be found to be the same as the height, as in the case of plane surfaces which are perfectly square.
[1]

ALL NOTES FROM WIKIPEDIA

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1 Comment

Filed under Art, Think

One response to “Friday Night Gallery Chat, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” What A Guy, He Had Everything!

  1. Pingback: Leonardo Da Vinci | Friday Night Gallery Chat, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” What A Guy, He Had Everything! | Italian Resource

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