Leonardo’s Vitruvian man drawing: a new interpretation looking at Leonardo’s geometric constructions. (English) Zbl 1326.00034

Summary: Generally speaking, today’s scientific community considers that the famous figure drawn by Leonardo da Vinci at the end of the fifteenth century was made using the Golden ratio. More specifically, the relationship established between the circle’s diameter and the side of the square is a consequence of the geometric relationship probably discovered by Euclid, but made famous by Luca Pacioli in his De divina proportione. Aware of the close working relationship between Leonardo and Pacioli, namely in the writing of this last book, the theory that establishes a close relationship between these two figures, making use of this remarkable mathematical relationship, has gained credibility. In fact, the use of the Divina proporzione, despite being a very stimulating construction on an intellectual level, presents too great a margin of error, especially for such a competent geometrician as Leonardo da Vinci was. For that reason, the relationship between these two figures (square and circle) is grounded on a much simpler geometric relationship than the one found at the base of the definition, for instance, of Le Corbusier’s Modulor.


00A66 Mathematics and visual arts
01A40 History of mathematics in the 15th and 16th centuries, Renaissance

Biographic References:

Leonardo da Vinci
Full Text: DOI


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