Leonardo da Vinci and the most famous drawing in history. His Vitruvian Man, arms and legs outstretched in a circle. Leonardo’s vision of the world.
The image is impossible to forget once you’ve seen it. Leonardo DaVinci’s “Vitruvian Man” – the bold, nude, outstretched human figure; arms and legs flung wide to the boundaries of a circle and a square. The “guy doing naked jumping jacks.”
Symbol of man in the universe, man as the universe. The grandeur of art. The nature of well-being. The power of geometry. The ideals of the Renaissance. The beauty of the human body. The creative potential of the human mind. The most famous drawing in history.
This hour, On Point: we’ll look at the origins and secrets of Leonardo’s “Vitruvian Man.”
C-Segment: The Two Mona Lisas
Matthew Landrus, leading expert on Leonardo da Vinci. Art historian at Oxford University and the Rhode Island School of Design.
From Tom's Reading List
The New York Times "In the richly rewarding history “Da Vinci’s Ghost,” Toby Lester, a contributing editor at The Atlantic, shows that Leonardo had long been fascinated by the concept of man as a microcosm of the universe. "
Smithsonian Magazine "When Sgarbi took a look at it, he discovered, to his amazement, that in fact it contained almost the full text of the Ten Books, along with 127 drawings. Moreover, it showed every sign of having been produced during the late 1400s, years before anyone was known to have systematically illustrated the work."
MSNBC "A "Mona Lisa" copy owned by Spain's Prado Museum was almost certainly painted by one of Leonardo da Vinci's apprentices alongside the master himself as he did the original, museum officials said Wednesday."
You can find a collection of other "Vitruvian Men" here compiled by Stanford University.
Photos: The Two Mona Lisas
This program aired on February 6, 2012.