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~ Vitruvian man ~
Before the great Leonardo, artists were interested purely in topographical anatomy (the study of the external proportionality of the subject being painted). Leonardo however changed this through his quest to discover everything that there was to know about nature, which included the human body. By dissecting dead bodies in much more detail than anyone before him including medical doctors, he began to reveal upon himself the secrets of nature and also gain knowledge to increase the realism of his drawings. (Leonardo's anatomy research was also motivated in finding where specifically the human soul resided within the body).
The complete workings of the human body were of so much interest to Leonardo that he believed that there was a deeper connection between the construct of the Universe and the human being. The drawing above is considered to be the apex of this understanding and work.This drawing which resides inside one of Leonardo's notebooks incorporates the idea of the golden ratio, the quest of artists since Roman times to find the proportional equation of the body which relates to every human body, irrespective of their size. (An architect called Vitruvius in his extensive discourse ‘De Architectura’; Book III around 25BC began this quest.)
Overall, by knowing what was going on underneath human skin, Leonardo could more correctly project the exterior anatomy of his art. In order to gain the anatomical knowledge, Leonardo had to dissect dead bodies. This surgery of dead bodies would eventually lead Leonardo in breaking many religious laws of the time and put his life in risk by being put to death for Necromancy. Whatever the cost however, the very distinct Da Vinci style of anatomy drawing was born! And so was Leonardo's portrayal of the perfect proportions of the human body housed within the Vitruvian Man.
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MORE PAGES ON LEONARDO!
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