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Text Box: Leonardo da Vinci—Vitruvian Man

The Vitruvian Man is a world famous drawing by Leonardo da Vinci completed in about 1487 It drawn ink ink on paper and is based on the work and ideas of the Roman architect Vitruvius.

The reverse writing imbedded in Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man drawing is his translation into Italian from the Latin of MARCUS VITRUVIUS POLLIO, De Architectura, Book III of X, Chapter 1, "On Symmetry in Temples and in the Human Body." Vitruvius, an architect and military engineer during the Second Triumvirate, (following the death of Julius Caesar) and in the early reign of Augustus, was strongly influenced by the Greeks, particularly Hermogenes (c.200 BCE), and wrote on topics of style, proportion, ornamentation, the directions of streets, foundations and substructures, building methods and materials, ancient inventions, acoustics, and structural harmonics.

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

Vitruvian Man is a depiction of a nude male figure, in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and simultaneously inscribed in a circle and square. It is also known as sometimes the Canon of Proportions or Proportions of Man.

Housed in the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice, Italy, Vitruvian Man is only exhibited occasionally due to the delicacy of works on paper.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian man has been an enduring source of fascination for artists, and re-interpretations of the image appear constantly in graphic design. 


All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions.—Leonardo da Vinci