Vitruvian Man

The Vitruvian Man is the familiar drawing made by Leonardo da Vinci around 1490. It shows the proportions of the human body according to the architect, Vitruvius.

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Leonardo’s notes on the page, written in reversed mirror writing, tell the math associated with the ideal man’s proportions.

The writing above the figure says: “Vetruvio, architect, puts in his work on architecture that the measurements of man are in nature distributed in this manner, that is:

  • a palm is four fingers
  • a foot is four palms
  • a cubit is six palms
  • four cubits make a man
  • a pace is four cubits
  • a man is 24 palms

and these measurements are in his buildings”

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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. (more)

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Describing the ideal man has become not only a task for artists, but also for philosophers, authors, and pundits. Contemplate Christ, Buddha . . . even Frankenstein’s monster, and remember that no man is without flaws.

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Jesus-w-guy

Christ

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Laughing Buddha

 

Frankenstein’s monster

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