Ask the Mountie

why is Leonardo Da Vinci's sketch called "Vitruvian Man"?

Dear Mr. Mountie,

Is Leonardo Da Vinci’s sketch which is called “Vitruvian Man” named for Vitruvius, who set out engineering theory in the 1st Century BCE? If so, why? If not, why is the sketch called “Vitruvian Man”?

Thank you for your time.


Dear Ed

Marcus Vitruvius is the author of the famous treatise ‘De architectura’, a work divided into 10 books dealing with city planning and architecture in general; building materials; temple construction; public buildings; and private buildings; clocks, hydraulics; and civil and military engines.

The work also deals with the measurements of the human body.

Here’s the deal: 4 fingers make 1 palm, 4 palms make 1 foot, 6 palms make 1 cubit, 4 cubits make a man’s height. Further, the length of a man’s outspread arms is equal to his height.

From the roots of his hair to the bottom of his chin is the tenth of a man’s height; from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head is one eighth of his height; from the top of the breast to the roots of the hair will be the seventh part of the whole man.

From the nipples to the top of the head will be the fourth part of man. The greatest width of the shoulders contains in itself the fourth part of man. From the elbow to the tip of the hand will be the fifth part of a man; and from the elbow to the angle of the armpit will be the eighth part of man.
The whole hand will be the tenth part of the man. The distance from the bottom of the chin to the nose and from the roots of the hair to the eyebrows is, in each case the same, and like the ear, a third of the face.

Yours Truly

Mr Mountie

Ask the Mountie a Question ➲

* Your email address is only required if you want the Mountie to send you his reply. It won't be shared or used for any other purpose.

Leave a tip

Say thank you by buying the Mountie a $3 beer.

The Mountie doesn't get a salary from takete, but makes his living on tips alone. Did the Mounties answer change your life? Leave a tip!

Thank You, Mr Mountie ➲