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Leonardo da Vinci drawings - The Vitruvian Man

Updated on August 31, 2015

The vitruvian man by Leonardo da Vinci - a famous drawing.

The drawing of Leonardo da Vinci called the Vitruvian Manis based upon the work of the famous architect Vitruvius, hence the name The Vitruvian Man.

The drawing of Leonardo da Vinci is in pen and ink on paper and shows us a man standing in a circle and a square with his arms and legs apart. Sometimes the drawing is called Proportions of Man as well. And Leonardo da Vinci wrote in his notes how those proportions relate to each other.

The Vitruvian man is stored in theGallerie dell'Accademiain Venice and will never leave the building. It is showed seldom to the public because of it's fragility and worth.

Although the Vitruvian Man is difficult to see in real life, the drawing is probably the most famous drawing ever made. It can be seen everywhere and printed on everything.

Gift wraps,jigsaw puzzles, umbrellas, T-shirts, watchesetc. The list of merchindise is endless.

But beside the commercialism of the the vitruvian man, the drawing is quite an intriguing one.

Leonardo shows in this drawing the "zeitgeist", the spirit of the time, so to speak... During the Renaissance, the Homo Universalis was the way to go. Science and art where closer together then ever and Leonardo da Vinci was the Homo Univeralis par excellence!!! He was interested in all kinds of things, nature,travel (by helicopter,bike or tank - thinks that didn't exist by then), mathematics,physics and of course the arts.

The Vitruvian Man is a great example and shows Leonardo da Vinci's look at the world. Mankind as the ultimate embodyment, where a secret code of the universe was hidden.

The complete drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci.

Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) possessed one of the greatest minds of all time; his importance and influence are inestimable. This two-volume, midsize format comprehensive survey is the most complete book ever made on the subject of this Italian painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, scientist and all-around genius.

 
Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance man
Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance man

The idea behind the Vitruvian Man

nature and science together

Leonardo's drawing is based on the relationship of the ideal human proportions with geometry described by the ancient Roman architect and military engineer Vitruvius in his Book "De Architectura". Vitruvius described the human figure as being the principal source of proportion among the Classical orders of architecture.

Although there is no official title for the drawing, it is know as "The Vitrivian Man" in honor of the Roman architect.

This drawing shows a perfect blend of art and science during the Renaissanceand shows Leonardo's interest in proportion. In addition, this picture represents a cornerstone of Leonardo's attempts to relate man to nature.

The drawing shows the perfect example of Leonardo's interest in proportion. In addition, this drawing represents a cornerstone of Leonardo's attempts to relate man to nature. Encyclopaedia Britannica online states, "Leonardo envisaged the great picture chart of the human body he had produced through his anatomical drawings and Vitruvian Man as a cosmografia del minor mondo (cosmography of the microcosm). He believed the workings of the human body to be an analogy for the workings of the universe. (So above - so below.)

In this drawing you see how Leonardo tried to capture science and mathematics (which was still an occult science) into the body of men. In other drawings of Leonardo you'll find the same attitude towards life and art. Combining the arts and science and seeing it as a whole.

the vitruvian man medical symbol
the vitruvian man medical symbol

The Vitruvian Man as a Symbol

The vitrivian man as medical symbols

The Vitruvian Man is also used as a symbol of medical professionals nowadays and many medical establishments. You can see the Vitruvian Man in many symbols of coorporations throught the world. Particular in the United States, Saudi Arabia, India and Germany. It also has come to represent the alternative medicines and holistic approach of wellbeing.

Besides that the medical profession uses it as a symbol of there trade, the Vitruvian Man is used in a variety of non-fictional and fictional media. Think of the "Da Vinci Code". And as well it is stamped on the 1 euro coins of Italy

Mona Lisa - Is She Pregnant ?
Mona Lisa - Is She Pregnant ?

The Perfect Man

The perfect woman

Although today, when a scientist would acclaim that he was looking for the perfect man, you would be quit suspicious. The scientist trying to construct a perfect man like the Vitruvius man of Leonardo would look like a fascist. Trying to blend everything that is good and perfect according to his vision. But what is good, what is perfect ?

So what is beauty ? It's quit a fashionable thing actually. In the times of Pieter Paul Rubens, the perfect man and woman would appear completely different. More round and voluptuous.

I do not think the beauty of a woman or a man is in the proportions of things, like Leonardo tried to capture. No Beauty is in the perception. It's how we act to other people. How we feel and reflect those feelings. Have you ever noticed how a pregnant woman glows. She maybe pregnant just for a few weeks, but you will notice, that she became more beautiful, more vibrant. This is true beauty, not the fake fashionable beauty.

So wasn't it a better idea for Leonardo to draw a pregnant woman. Well maybe he did, maybe that's the secret of the Mona Lisa. With the figure of the Mona Lisa it's difficult to tell. Her dress doesn't explicitly shows her body. It's a bit vague. But smiling she does.

The Vitruvian Man - a watch, dvd, puzzle or poster.

The Vitruvian Man by Leonardo Da Vinci can be found everywhere, on tea cups, watches,ties and clocks. It's amazing how the man in the square and circle became so popular. Maybe by it's simplicity. The vitruvian man is almost like a symbol of mankind. Ever reaching out to new boundaries, new puzzles to solve and always curious about what's next. It's a mathematical drawing, Leonardo da Vinci tried to discover the secrets behind life, behind the human body.

Mystery of the Vitruvian Man
Mystery of the Vitruvian Man

Format: DVD

Amazon price: $19.99

 

Where Is the Vitruvian Man Stored ?

"Leonardo da Vinci Vitruvian man" is in the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice is displayed only occasionally.

Besides the famous drawing of the Vitruvian man de Galleria dell Ãcademia is in the possession of the David from Michelangelo as well.

And if you've seen all the art in Venice and are still bored, you can always take a famous Italian ice cream and go for the canels...

Don't go for a Pizza in Venice, I've eaten one of the most crappy pizza's I can remember. That's a disadvantage of a touristic city I'm afraid..

And don't drink a coffee at the plaza de San Marcos because it will cos you an arm and a leg.

But Venice is definitively a lovely place to go to.

Da Vinci's Ghost: Genius, Obsession, and How Leonardo Created the World in His Own Image

The story behind the vitruvian man

Everyone knows the image, but does anyone knows the story behind the image ?

This is the story of Vitruvian Man: Leonardo da Vinci's famous drawing of a man in a circle and a square. Deployed today to celebrate subjects as various as the nature of genius, the beauty of the human form, and the universality of the human spirit, the figure appears on everything from coffee cups and T-shirts to book covers and corporate logos.

Still, although it's world's most famous drawing, yet almost nobody knows anything more about the drawing. The idea of Leonardo da Vinci to put the man inside a circle was inspired by the Roman architect Vitruvius. The circle associated with the supreme and the square with the earthly matters.

To place man in both is besides an artistic beauty an conceptional idea as well. It is the human being connected with the divine and with the earth.

This idea, known as the theory of the microcosm,was well spread in Europe at the time, coming from the Greek philosophers. Seeing a the body as a mirror for the greater world around us.

Pythagoras himself saw mathematics as a language to god and the divine. The idea of the macrocosm and the microcosm was an idea that inspired both religion and science for centruries.

Yet starting in the 1480s he set out to do something unprecedented. If the design of the body truly did reflect that of the cosmos, Leonardo reasoned, then by studying its proportions he might broaden the scope of his art to include the broadest of metaphysical horizons. The Vitruvian Man gives that exhilarating idea visual expression.

The book of Toby Lester is a century-spanning saga of people and ideas. Assembled here is an eclectic cast of hisorical characters: the architect Vitruvius; the emperor Caesar Augustus and his "body of empire"; early Christian and Muslim thinkers; the visionary mystic Hildegard of Bingen; the book-hunter Poggio Bracciolini; the famous dome-builder Filippo Brunelleschi; Renaissance doctors,anatomists, art theorists , architects, and military engineers; and, of course Leonardo da Vinci himself-whose ghost Lester resurrects in the surprisingly unfamiliar context of his own times. Da Vinci's Ghost is written with the same narrative flair and intellectual sweep as Lester's award-winning first book, the "almost unbearably thrilling" (Simon Winchester) Fourth Part of the World.

It's an amazing book elegant and enthralling.

Everything about the Vitruvian Man. Da Vinci's Ghost. The Genius behind the drawing

scribles from Leonardo da Vinci in mirror writing
scribles from Leonardo da Vinci in mirror writing

The translation of the text

scribled underneath and above the Vitruvian man

"If you open your legs so much as to decrease your height 1/14 and spread and raise your arms till your middle fingers touch the level of the top of your head you must know that the centre of the outspread limbs will be in the navel and the space between the legs will be an equilateral triangle.

"The length of a man's outspread arms is equal to his height.

- From the roots of the hair to the bottom of the chin is the tenth of a man's height;

from the bottom of the chin to the top of his head is one eighth of his height;

from the top of the breast to the top of his head will be one sixth of a man.

From the top of the breast to the roots of the hair will be the seventh part of the whole man.

From the nipples to the top of the head will be the fourth part of a man.

The greatest width of the shoulders contains in itself the fourth part of the man.

From the elbow to the tip of the hand will be the fifth part of a man;

and from the elbow to the angle of the armpit will be the eighth part of the man.

The whole hand will be the tenth part of the man; the beginning of the genitals marks the middle of the man.

The foot is the seventh part of the man. From the sole of the foot to below the knee will be the fourth part of the man.

From below the knee to the beginning of the genitals will be the fourth part of the man.

The distance from the bottom of the chin to the nose and from the roots of the hair to the eyebrows is, in each case the same, and like the ear, a third of the face."

the 54th Venice Biennale

Modern art in an Renaissance city

If your planning a holiday. Venice is the place to be this year. The 54th Biennale is open all year long, but the modern art part, starts at the 3rd of June (if your a VIP) , and for the ordinary public, that's us, it will open the 4th of June - until the 27 of November.

It's a huge happening. With Dance, art, cinema,music, theater.

I've been there once as a kid and it made a huge impression on me, together with a visit to the Bienale in Kassel (Germany) it made me decide to go to an art academy.

The biennale contains works of 88 artist. The title of the 54th International Art Exhibition, ILLUMInations, literally draws attention to the importance of such endeavours in a globalized world. more info about the Biennale of Venice you can find here :

Astrology and Leonardo da Vinci

Astrology and Leonardo da Vinci
Astrology and Leonardo da Vinci

Please Do Not Give Feedback in Mirror Writing - but a Typed Message Will Be Welcome.

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    • Celticep profile image

      Celticep 5 years ago

      Fascinated by da Vinci's works! Great lens :-)

    • PeterStip profile image
      Author

      PeterStip 5 years ago

      @siobhanryan: thank you for the encouragement and the complement. I'm still learning here on squidoo. It's hard to grasp the "rules" here. I've seen lenses over commercialized with a lot of likes and others with great personal points of view with only a few kudos which should deserve more...

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 5 years ago

      Great information-and you certainly deserved the purple star

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Leonardo da Vinci had the ability to balance math & science with art beautifully, a true genius.

    • Nany Palacio profile image

      Nany Palacio 5 years ago

      I've love Leonardo Davinci since I was a child. Great information in your lens, thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Well done on your artwork article ... *blessed*

    • PeterStip profile image
      Author

      PeterStip 5 years ago

      @anonymous: wow, good observation. Hadn't looked at it that way. Could well be there is a women behind the men, only her legs and arms are visible...

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      The Vitruvian Man might be a Gemini. I love the optical illusion of the the way the square and circle are placed. It seems like the twins are floating in an orb, with the way the writing at the top of the pictures comes down along the sides of the orb. And, and the bottom the writing makes a solid foundation where the men are floating above. Great composition, pure genius.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      I've always liked this drawing. Thanks for the background information.

    • PeterStip profile image
      Author

      PeterStip 6 years ago

      @Diana Wenzel: Good idea, Leonardo should have made a woman as well, would have been a wonderful couple. Women where throughout art history always so inspirational. Rodin,Rubens,Vermeer,Picasso etc. So she definitely deserves a place besides the Vitruvian man.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 6 years ago from Iowa

      daVinci was such a genius. I recently went to an exhibit which dissected all of his thought processes. Totally fascinating.Blessed by the Fine Arts Angel

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      I greatly appreciate the Vitruvian Man drawing. Right now I'm working on my own version of Vitruvian Woman. Great idea for a lens.