Vitruvian Man in Da Vinci Code

In The Da Vinci Code, Langdon discovers that Sauniere, the Louvre curator, has arranged his dying body in the shape of the Vitruvian Man, a sketch by Leonardo Da Vinci. Marcus Vitruvius was a Roman architect in 1 BCE and authored the famous treatise on architecture entitled De Architectura.

Vitruvian Man sketch by Da Vinci

In Book III Vitruvius writes on the connection between architectural symmetry and anatomical symmetry:

“If a man can be placed flat on his back, with his hands and feet extended, and a pair of compasses centered at his navel, the fingers and toes of his two hands and feet will touch the circumference of a circle described therefrom. And just as the human body yields a circular outline, so too a square figure may be found from it. For if we measure the distance from the soles of the feet to the top of the head, and then apply that measure to the outstretched arms, the breadth will be found to be the same as the height, as in the case of plane surfaces which are completely square.”

It is this concept that was converted to imagery by Leonardo Da Vinci in 1490.

Michael John Gorman developed a site dedicated to the Vitruvian Man concept as the final project at Stanford University. He traces the history with present-day interpretations of the drawing, including connections with health, art, structure and Homer Simpson.

“The Vitruvian Fallacy” is the name given to the two-volume work on architectural theory by Smith David Capon. These comprehensive text books were published by Wiley-Academy in 1999.

One thought on “Vitruvian Man in Da Vinci Code

  1. rob meldahl

    I want to put the vitruvian man on the front of my book.

    Do I need to obtain the permission of anyone (museum etc.)?


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