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Vitruvian Man, also known as the “Canon of Proportions,” is an illustration of a man inside of a circle and square in two superimposed positions. Created by the Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci circa 1490, the drawing is based on the ideal geometric human proportions as described in the treatise De Architectura by the Roman architect Vitruvius.
The ancient Roman architect Vitruvius wrote a treatise on architecture titled De Architectura, likely published in 15 BC, which included a section on human proportions. Da Vinci created the Vitruvian Man drawing circa 1490 as a study on Vitruvius’ vision of the male human body (shown below).
The illustration has often been referenced and reproduced throughout history. In 1528, German artist Albrecht Dürer illustrated a version of the Vitruvian Man (shown below, left) in his book Vier Bücher von menschlicher Proportion (“Four Books on Human Proportions” in English). In 1795, English poet William Blake painted a naked male figure based on the Vitruvian Man as a representation of the primeval man Albion (shown below, middle). In 2002, the Italian € 1.00 coin was minted, which features an engraving of the Vitruvian Man (shown below, right).
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