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Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man portrayed
A. the most scientific diagram of the human body ever created.
B. man as the purest form of art.
C. the ideal human body in relation to the universe.
D. the same design as a drawing created in ancient Rome.
C. Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man portrayed the ideal human body in relation to the universe.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man portrayed the ideal human body in relation to the universe. Leonardo believed the human body, created by nature, is intrinsically related to the universe. In his drawing he analyses the body’s proportions and relations between different parts of the body. His portrait of the Vitruvian Man was intended to relate the human body to nature. The circle around the body represents the cosmic and divine.
The History and Influence of Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man
As the orginal “Renaissance Man,” Leonardo da Vinci’s works have influenced artists, scientists, architects, and great thinkers for centuries. Along with the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, his Vitruvian Man drawing is one of the most iconic images in the history of Western art.
Drawn with pen and ink on paper, Da Vinci completed the Vitruvian Man around 1490 when he was an apprentice in Andrea del Verrocchio’s workshop, where Da Vinci learned about architectural and technological design.
In the drawing, Da Vinci depicts a nude man standing inside a circle and a square with arms and legs drawn in two positions. The drawing was an attempt to illustrate principles of Vitruvius, a Roman architect who described the proportions of the human body in De architectura. Yet Da Vinci is not the only—or even the first—artist to attempt illustrating Virtruvius’s proportions, though his work is the most famous. Others, such as Francesco di Giorgio Martini had attempted it as early as the 1480s.
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History of Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man
Smithsonian Magazine reports that others had attempted the drawing earlier in the 15th century, and notes that the shapes drawn around the man have important significance. Beyond trying to measure the proportions of the human form, “ancient thinkers had long invested the circle and square with symbolic powers.” For these thinkers, circular shapes were linked to the “cosmic and the divine,” while the square represented what was “earth and secular.”
By imposing a human form inside these shapes, scholars were not just noting bodily proportions; they were also showing how humans fit in both worlds and could actually serve as a way to study the perfection of the universe. By doing so, Vitruvius and other architectural scholars believed they could carry over this perfection into the realm of architecture.
This principle of humans serving as a link between the earth and the divine seems to be one that Da Vinci believed, too. As quoted in the book Da Vinci’s Ghost by Toby Lester, the artist wrote in 1492, “By the ancients man was termed a lesser world, and certainly the use of this name is well bestowed, because…his body is an analogue for the world.”
Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man
However, rather than copy Vitruvius’ findings himself, Da Vinci notes in image’s accompanying backwards text
that his Vitruvian Man features adjusted positioning of Virtruvius’ circle and square.
as well as some of the proportions and positions of the man’s limbs based on his own studies of the human form.
Today, Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man is housed at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice,
Italy, though it is rarely displayed for the public, largely because the drawing is fragile
and must be constantly monitored and protected from direct light.
it was displayed at the Louvre in December 2019 in an exhibition that lasted eight weeks
commemorating the 500th anniversary of Da Vinci’s death in France, giving visitors a rare look at the manuscript.
While it remains to be seen when the drawing might be viewable by the public again
its scarcity of access only adds to its allure, as it remains an important work marking the history of art and science.