Leonardo's Vitruvian man Sketch Detailed



Year c. 1490
Pen and ink with wash over metalpoint
on paper
Dimensions 34.4 cm × 25.5 cm (13.5 in × 10.0 in)


File:Golden ratio line.svgThis is Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man. It's a sketch of the human body showing how it's mathematical proportions are related to a square and a circle. When you are trying to sketch or paint a person it can be very difficult to get them proportionate. During Leo's studies and being influenced by Vitruvius the Architect, he came up with a formula that would be the ideal proportion for a human man. Everyone is slightly different, and obviously a dwarf or someone that isn't "proportionate" would vary from this formula. What this represents is the universal shape and proportion that the body would be mathematically and relating to phi. It's also called the "Golden Ratio" - it can get really complicated!






20+Hours sketching Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian man on the computer down to the scaled detail of a single letter. My chapter on this sketch just got a lot longer and interesting -lets just say I found what I was searching for....



The text translated to English Reads:

"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. If you open your legs enough that your head is lowered by one-fourteenth of your height and raise your hands enough that your extended fingers touch the line of the top of your head, know that the centre of the extended limbs will be the navel, and the space between the legs will be an equilateral triangle".
  • 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 the below the chin to the nose and the eyebrows and the hairline are equal to the ears and to one-third of the face.






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