The Vitruvius man is a drawing that is stored in Gallerie dell’ Accedemia in Venice, Italy. This drawing was created by the re-known artist Leonardo da Vinci in the year 1487. The drawing is in paper and ink; therefore, it is brought on exhibition only once in a while due to the delicate nature of the drawing material.

The description of the Vitruvius man

The drawing depicts the figure of a male human in different positions with the arms apart and the legs astride. The drawing is inscribed in a circle and a square at the same time. It is accompanied by foot notes that are based on the work that had been done and created by the celebrated artist, Leonardo.

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This drawing is often referred to as the canon of proportion because it was used as the basis for the correlations of human proportions and the reference to geometry as it is illustrated in the drawing. This has made the drawing created by Leonardo da Vinci to be named canon of proportion in honor of the role it has played in the field of architecture.

The artwork also shows a magical blending of art and science by a mogul of art. This shows the great passion and interest that Leonardo had for proportionality and conceptualization of geometry.

Da Vinci chose to inscribe the figure in a circle and a square to depict magnificent combination of art and science to bring out the proportionality of a human body organ. This drawing had been used as a cornerstone by the Romans in their phenomenal architectural structures in the 15th century.

Another reason that motivated Leonardo in creating the Vitruvius man was his desire to relate humans to nature. He believed that the way the human body functioned symbolized how the universe worked and that everything in it was perfect and proportional. This was because, according to his views, the human body had been designed by nature.

Representations in the Vitruvius Man

This drawing could also be used to represent the virile and physically fit man. When drawing the Vitruvius Man, Leonardo ensured that the physical features of this were dominantly displayed. The dominance in appearance is prominent on the facial features and the strongly built body. These features were meant to represent the virility of this man and also his good health.

The Vitruvius Man as a drawing is a representational art. The drawing has been used to represent the mechanical nature of humans. The art work also represents the “glad day” of humans as well as to represent the physical fitness of a virile man.

The glad day of human, is a popularized 1795 art work by William Blake where the Vitruvius man is set free from the circles and the squares that seems to hold him hostage.

This means freedom brings in unfound joy that comes with the freedom from the constraining restrictions by the square and the circle. To attain this new representation from the Vitruvius man, William Blake takes the diagrammatic figure of the Vitruvius Man and replaces him with a joyful and enthusiastic god of energy posing in a fling.

In this representation of the Vitruvius Man Blake wanted to illustrate the ideal requirement of the incorporating imagination not just observation in creation of epic drawings like the Vitruvius Man (American Medical Association, 2006).

Leonardo who lived in the 15th century was a painter, an architect and an engineer. These skills that he possessed must have influenced him in creating the Vitruvius man. He must have been fascinated by the science and the knowledge that he had on the human anatomy and this could have made him desire to blend the areas of specialization in such accuracy in his art.

It was during this time that the construction of temples was on the rise and Leonardo had envisioned that the proportions and the measurements of the human body are divinely defined with such perfection that he was of the opinion that a perfectly constructed temple should reflect the proportionality displayed by the human body.

The period was also characterized by major advancement in geometry and this could have motivated Leonardo to represent the image in a proportional manner so as to align his work with the knowledge of geometry.

Thus, he proved that the human body was symmetrical by placing the Vitruvius man in a square inscribed by a circle. This means that the architectural skills could have influenced him when he was drawing the Vitruvius. This information has helped in understanding why Leonardo had opted to draw Vitruvius man the way he did.

In conclusion, it is evident that da Vinci’s work has great influence in various fields. Due to its geometric proportionality, the artwork has major influences in architecture, health and medicine among other fields of specialization. It is also evident that the general knowledge of geometry that had gained preeminence during the time of this artwork greatly influenced the nature of the drawing.


American Medical Association, (2006) Journal of the American Medical Association, Volume 256, Pages 1077-2288,