Vitruvian Man

As Vitruvian Man (Latin homo vitruvianus, also: Vitruvian figure) is called a representation of the people after the ancient architect and engineer Vitruvius (ius ) formulated proportion rule. The most famous example is a 34.4 × 24.5 cm large drawing by Leonardo da Vinci, which was created in 1490. This is a sketch with notes from one of his diaries, which show a man with outstretched limbs in two superimposed positions. With the fingertips and the soles of the figure touches a square surrounding it (homo ad quadratum ) or a circle (homo ad Circulum ).

The study shows how Leonardo was interested in physique and proportions, and is still a symbol not only for the aesthetics of the Renaissance, but one of the most famous and most reproduced image motifs.

Origin of the name

The name comes not from Leonardo da Vinci. It is reminiscent of the Roman architect Vitruvius, about 80-70 BC to about 10 BC This written between 33 BC and 22 BC, the only surviving from antiquity Architecture Books Ten Books on Architecture (Latin: De architectura libri decem ), essays that were not illustrated and many later artists encouraged to own imagings, including Albrecht Dürer. Vitruvius is the fact, among others, the theory of well-formed man (Latin homo bene figuratus ) with an ideal ratio of body parts to each other:

" Furthermore, it is naturally the center of the body of the navel. If that is a man with arms and legs spread on her back, and is given to the compass point at the location of the navel and proposes a circle, then the circle of the fingertips of both hands and toes touching. Likewise, the body as there is a circle, the figure of a square will find him. If one is to deprive the soles of the feet up to the vertex degree and applies this measure to the outstretched hands, so the same width and height is shown as in areas that have a grid on the square. "

Leonardo's drawing

The original drawing of Leonardo's located since 1822 in the Galleria dell ' Accademia in Venice after it was acquired by the Austrian governor, together with 25 other Leonardozeichnungen by the heirs of the Milanese art collector Giuseppe Bossi ( 1777-1815 ). There is preservation reasons, rarely exhibited. Leonardo learned Vitruvius' text probably on a trip in 1490 to know when he met Francesco di Giorgio, the Vitruvius translated into Italian. With his pen drawing by Leonardo da Vinci illustrates the thesis of Vitruvius, the upright man, include both in the geometric shape of the square of the circle as a. He was neither the only nor the first artist to Vitruvius illustrated text. Francesco di Giorgio himself has drawn a Vitruvian Man. Only Leonardo succeeded, however, the superimposition of circular and square to solve so that a compelling, harmoniously proportioned figure emerged. For Leonardo chose for the square of a different focus than for the circle: As seen from the drawing, the artist applies for the "homo ad Circulum " the circle exactly in the navel. The " homo ad quadratum ", however, is the step the center of the square. Other illustrators tried to make circle and square center to cover.

The appearance of the character is determined not only by the circle and square, but also by rules of proportion for the individual parts of the body (feet, head, etc.). Vitruvius says:

" The human body is shaped so that the face is from the chin to the top of the forehead and the bottom of the hair tuft 1/10, the palm of the wrist to the tip of the finger as much, the head from chin to highest point of the crown 1/8 [ ... ] but up to the nostrils is from the lower part of the chin, the third part of the length of the face itself, as much as the nose from the nostrils to the middle line of the eyebrows. From this line up to the hairline, the forehead is formed, also 1/3 [ ... ] "

Leonardo labeling his drawing also specifies the body proportions by the widespread since ancient times, human-derived system of units reported in: 4 fingers to a Palm (hand width) revealed 4 Palm foot, 6 Palm a cubit, four cubits the total size of a human, the same 4 yards a fathoms (ie arm span ). The ideal of human beauty is therefore not an absolute, but is made of the relationship of individual parts to each other. Leonardo won his proportion ideas not only from the ancient tradition, but also by measuring the anatomy of young men in the years 1489/90.

Cesare Cesariano

Walther Hermann Ryff

The double figure in the circle and square can also be understood as a solution proposal for Leonardo's impossible in a finite number of design steps, squaring the circle. In fact, the drawing can be a very elegant algorithm for approximate squaring the circle ( in an infinite number of design steps ) found that generates a recursive sequence of pairs of circle and square, which converges with high accuracy against an area ratio of approximately 1.0003.

The ratio of the side length of the square of the radius of the circle in Leonardo's picture corresponds with a deviation of 1.7% to the golden ratio, which is why often said, the picture is the " representation of the people in the Golden Section ." Since the routes of side length and radius are not unit and run in different directions, can be a ratio of the whole to its parts - as it describes the golden ratio - hardly represent. Because of the variance of 1.7% can therefore argue over the said formulation.

Today's use

Was Leonardo's drawing to the 1930s, the Leonardo literature and known in the theory of proportion at the art academies, especially the inner circle, the figure gained by using as a symbol of Leonardo's naturalistic philosophy of order in the Milan exhibition in honor of the artist 1939 international attention.

Today, the Vitruvian Man is a popular and often adapted figure. In addition to reproductions in murals or posters, or as a tattoo motif, he finds himself on the back of the Italian 1 euro coin on the emblem of the Skylab 3 or as the logo of the health insurance card (KVK ) and electronic health card ( health card ) of the German statutory health insurance.

Various authors and illustrators of modern times alienate Vinci's original caricature. One example is Donald Duck, the title page of onlookers pocket book # 357 for as a " Vitruvian Duck ". Another comic-like implementation is the logo of the Linux distribution Knoppix ( " Vitruvian Penguin "). The figure is also used as the cover image of the album Clayman, of the band In Flames used the figure, while the cover of the album Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One of the British band The Kinks refers to them.

Plays a major role in Leonardo's drawing of the esoteric and New Age scene. Edged with a Zodiac, the Vitruvian Man is a symbol of the New Man. In the best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code, the dying Jacques Saunière placed in the form of the Vitruvian Man, his adopted daughter Sophie and Robert Langdon on the involvement of the works of Leonardo Da Vinci's attention to make in on a secret.

The " Vitruvian Man " is also used as a symbol in traditional Chinese medicine. Here it is referred to as a Chinese ideogram. Reason: " The Chinese ideogram for 'man' is a shape that is rooted like a tree in the ground and their arms are stretched upward as branches to the sky so that it can receive power from above and below. "