da vinci vitruvian man

Vitruvian Man: Hidden Secrets Of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Drawing

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Renaissance artists, masters of their craft. Leonardo Da Vinci; Michelangelo. Famous through the ages for their works of art. They placed much meaning within their works and the Vitruvian Man is no different. Leonardo Da Vinci used it to express meaning and I aim to explain some of what I have found here.

The Geometric Masterpiece

What is the golden ratio? It a value expressed as Phi ɸ, and represented symbolically as it is what the pythagoreans call ‘an unlimited’. It is not a whole number and it is infinitely recurring and what’s fascinating about Phi is that it is a fractal. When the outside is the same as the inside. It is traveling non-destructively and is the math of infinity. i.e. when you divide a line in this ratio the whole of the line will be of the same ratio to the greater part of the line. It is a non-destructive division. 

Plato’s Divided line expressing the non-destructive golden ratio

I want to first start by stating that this is a speculation piece based on my own academic interest of the golden ratio and its value in connection with the material manifestation of existence itself.

This is a little different to what I usually try to write, seeking to spark interest in the reader so that they may delve deeper for themselves in order to ascertain meaning. In essence, I try to report more broadly and fairly with the intention of seeking harmony rather than division, as I believe that if the information is reported accurately, then the truth is not far behind, and the truth is one, so if fairly reported then the culmination of all that I write should show connection in truth and beliefs and not division. No more pointing fingers but instead understanding. 

Prepare To Speculate

This subject, however, is not something that has or can really be defined as a conclusion. As I believe that some independent conjecture has to be applied in order to start the wheels of thought in others. It is not currently understood as fact at this stage of existence and I believe Plato puts it well:

“…amid the variety of opinions which have arisen about God and the nature of the world we must be content to take probability for our rule, considering that I, who am the speaker, and you, who are the judges, are only men; to probability we may attain no further.”

Plato’s Timaeus pg.14

Here, Here, Skeptics

We will begin by debunking a generalized statement made by those who do not understand this ‘golden ratio’. I have seen very often when the golden spiral is expressed to show the nature of things being derived from this ratio, the statement is often made ‘that is not the golden ratio.’ To an extant you are correct, but the denier misses the purpose of reference.

Let us look at an example:

If we take the Fibonacci sequence, the numerical series that we expressed visually achieves the golden spiral, 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,89,144,233,377

Each number is the sum of the two numbers before it. The ratio of each to the last is what’s important:

1:2=2, 2:3=1.5, 3:5=1.666, 5:8=1.6, 8:13=1.625, 13:21=1.615, 21:34=1.619, 34:55=1.617 55:89=1.618, 89:144=1.617, 144:233=1.618, 233:377=1.618…

As we can see, nature has a code with which it progresses and is that which it is attempting to attain. It is the ideal state. We see it vary and never perfect because we have not yet achieved the ideal state, but are a reflection of it, and existence is moving towards the ideal state. There is much variation in the beginning, but through progression it begins to become much more stable. We are seeing the objective of form in these numbers. Throughout nature we see that form is growing to achieve ideal state. 

We can see this in the Vitruvian man. 

The Vitruvian Man sterpiece

analysis of the vitruvian man
Inspiration for the Vitruvian Man in Vitruvius’ De Architectura

Leonardo Da Vinci, when commissioned by… to illustrate a book about divine form, He was inspired by a man named Vitruvius, an engineer and architect, who, around 15BC, wrote a book detailing the form of nature itself and its applications in design. He illustrated and described this within the human body and this was the inspiration for the Vitruvian man. 

Within this artwork, Da Vinci, geometrically expressed what is known as refracting the circle, which is a circle derived from the perimeter of a square. Not to be confused with ‘squaring the circle’ which is deriving a circle from the area of a square.

If we assume that the length of the side of the square is 1, and therefore the perimeter summing up to 4, then to calculate the area of the circle we would want to find the diameter. We will be using the true value of Pi (3.144 when the area under the edge of the circle is measured as it was left out in Archimedes calculation of π through the method of exhaustion. I will do another article on that). So we would use 2πr=4 since the perimeter of the square is 4, so, πr=2,

r=2/π, r=0.636 d=2r=1.272

This is what is known as the golden root. It is the number that when multiplied by itself (squared) is equal to 1.618 or the golden ratio.

To The (Pencil) Point

The point of expressing this calculation, is to show something else that comes up in Da Vinci’s drawing.

The reason we cannot calculate accurately, directly from the drawing itself, is due to the thickness of Da Vinci’s pencil mark itself. So it is not perfection. The same applies to existence as we currently experience it. The reason why the number is not consistently 1.618 in nature, is because it is not yet the ideal and perfect state. It is always working towards it, as we can see from the progression of the Fibonacci sequence, striving for perfection. But we have not yet achieved it. Leonardo Da Vinci is saying the same thing with his drawing. The square representing earth form and the circle representing heaven.

We are of both heaven and earth, geometrically measured to both in his drawing, but we have yet to attain the ideal state, which is the apex of the triangle that forms within his drawing, in the heavenly space above the square.

Dimensions Of Heaven

More evidence for this is the geometrical markings on the ‘earthly form and lack of them on the ‘heavenly’ body. Note that Da Vinci clearly marks proportions on the earth body. But leaves them missing from the exalted form. I make the claim that this is because the form of heaven is beyond shape; it is infinite, as is represented by the circle. Which itself is infinite in that it has no edges. The exalted man has broken free of the bounds of what may be measured.

Did you know?

That when calculating the dimensions of a circle we are estimating. We use the value of π, which is an irrational number; it has no end. Therefore, we do not know the exact dimensions of a given circle.

The Great Pyramid actually squares the circle. It is accomplished by dropping a vertical line from the apex of the Pyramid to its base line. If this vertical line be considered as the radius of an imaginary circle, the length of the circumference of such a circle will be found to equal the sum of the base lines of the four sides of the Pyramid.

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