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Vitruvian Man by Leonardo Da Vinci Impact

Vitruvian Man is a very famous and captivating drawing around the world. Its existence was enabled by Leonardo Da Vinci around the year 1487 (Vallentin p. 3). The drawing has some accompanying inscription notes founded on Vitruvius Pollio’s work. It portrays a male image in two overlaying arrangements with his arms and legs spaced out and engraved in a circle and square concurrently. The drawing is in ink and paper and is sometimes named as ‘Canon of Proportions’ or ‘Proportions of Man’. It is well kept in Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice, Italy and showed off occasionally (Vallentin p. 4). The drawing has greatly influenced art, both at present and in the past. The focus of the analysis is the influence it has brought upon the modern art.

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The influence of Vitruvian Man in the modern art can be well analyzed by understanding its meaning and history. According to history the image demonstrates unification of art and science during renaissance (cultural movement between the 14th and 17th century) (Vallentin p. 10). Leonardo in his drawing relates man to nature and he depicts his interest in proportion. Leonardo believes that the workings of the human body resemble the workings of the earth.

Apart from the history of the Vitruvian Man, Leonardo has a deeper meaning of the drawing which sets him apart from the other artists. An article on Leonardo Da Vinci’s life points out what Leonardo meant in the drawing. According to Leonardo, the overlaying arrangement of the male figure in a circle and the square concurrently shows movement and liveliness (par. 4). This is well advocated by the active legs and arms. Further, it signifies the critical balance of the human body and of the world at large.

The earlier illustrations of the Vitruvian Man centered on the ancient text only but Leonardo combines the two (the drawing and the inscription) for his analysis. See drawing below from The drawing is of Vitruvian Man, 1490.

The Vitruvian Man drawing
The Vitruvian Man drawing, 1490

Leonardo gives a translation of the inscription and links it to the drawing for an expounded meaning. They were noted down By Vitruvius and a clear illustration is offered by Leonardo. However, the writings made in mirror writing, give a study on the proportions of a male human body. The notes illustrate that the navel is the central part of a human body. If a person lies back on his back and stretches his arms and feet and a pair of compass is placed at his navel, then tips of his fingers and toe will touch the perimeter of the circle described. Leonardo on the other hand does a merge of the ancient writing and the drawing. He carefully examines actual human bodies and concludes that the center of the square cannot be the same as that of the circle-the navel-but it is lower in the human structure. Consequently, Leonardo raises the arms to the level where the fingers are at the same level as the tip of the head. These alterations differentiate Leonardo’s drawing from earlier illustrations (pp. 20-32).

The diversification of the Vitruvian Man in the modern world, and especially in the art scene has been enormous. The earlier symbolism or representation of twofold of the soul has been widened. In my opinion the Vitruvian Man has been used to incarnate renaissance in modern art. Vitruvian Man has brought with it, the correlations of human proportions and geometry into the modern art. The image is at large where a topic of substance beyond the obvious is core.

In addition, many medical professionals and establishments have opted to adopt this artwork. In my view, I think the symbol of Vitruvian Man magnifies wellness in these institutions. It strongly sends a message that the institutions are a point where people recover from their sicknesses. The Vitruvian man also represents a balanced and healthy man in the practice of medicine. This symbol not only, does it serve as a bridge between the ancient and modern era, but also it acts as a marketing tool for medical institutions. It gives different perspectives and meanings to different people as well as organizations. Leonardo has come out with different personalities through his artwork (Vitruvian man). He is seen to be an artist, a philosopher, innovative person but above all an anatomist. His character of dissecting the human framework and depicting symmetry in human body has inspired and influenced those in the medical field. My analysis is that a big number of current medical institutions associate with the symbol simply because Leonardo was an anatomist. Further, the symbol itself shows the good health of humankind and that is one of the core functions of these institutions.

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The Vitruvian Man has widely been used by artists. The proportions for the human body –Leonardo- have instigated them to define their own meaning of Vitruvian Man. The drawing and translation of the inscription according to Leonardo puts forth the fact that man represents measure. This has influenced some countries like Italy to adopt the symbol for their euro coin. According to the economy minister of Italy, Vitruvian Man strongly symbolizes man as a measure for everything. In addition, if the image is used in fiction, there are some amendments done to ensemble the setting by featuring a character.

The artists of the ancient time, that is the 14th century, brought out the strength and symbolism of art. They did not just put down a drawing; rather they drew a meaning of a certain aspect or situation. Their sculptures, paintings and drawings had great meanings and have since influenced the modern art scene. The artist of the14th century foresaw the future and in turn created a strong art that has influenced individuals and institutions up to the 21st century. Leonardo is one among these great ancient artists who even after his death his works still has a touch on the lives of many. One of the drawings he created was the Vitruvian man. This drawing has been of great interest to many and, has sparked different responses and inspired many in all fields. The gesture Vitruvian man has on the facet of modern humankind is positive and enormous. Therefore, Leonardo da Vinci has a big smile engraved on his face for his good work.

Works Cited n.d. “Leonardo Da Vinci drawings”. 2009. Web.

Leonardo, Da Vinci. “Leonardo’s drawings” USA: Dover publisher, 1980.

Leonardo da Vinci life. n.d. “Vitruvian man-the proportion of the human life”. 2009. Web.

Vallentin, Antonina. “The Leonardo Da Vinci tragic pursuit of perfection”. USA: Haddon Craftsmen, 1938.

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StudyCorgi. "Vitruvian Man by Leonardo Da Vinci Impact." October 30, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Vitruvian Man by Leonardo Da Vinci Impact." October 30, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Vitruvian Man by Leonardo Da Vinci Impact'. 30 October.

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