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Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.

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Leonardo

Da Vinci’s

Vitruvian Man


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The 'Vitruvian Man' is a famous drawing with accompanying notes by Leonardo da Vinci made around the year 1492 in one of his journals. It depicts a naked male figure in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and simultaneously inscribed in a circle and square. The drawing and text are sometimes called the Canon of Proportions or, less often, Proportions of Man. It is on display in the Gallerie dell' Accademia in Venice, Italy.


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According to Leonardo's notes in the accompanying text (written in mirror writing) it was made as a study of the proportions of the (male) human body as described by the Ancient Roman architect Vitruvius, who wrote that in the human body:

Arm Span

Height

“…the length of a man's outspread arms is equal to his height …”


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The Vitruvian theory contains a total of 10 ratios between different parts of the body.

Can you verify four of these ratios using data collected from your class?

Here is a reminder of the first:

Height is equal to arm span

Arm Span

Height


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2. different parts of the body.

Length from the elbow to the end of the hand is equal to one quarter of height

Elbow to end of hand

Height


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3. different parts of the body.

Length of the hand is one tenth of height

Hand

Height

4.

Length of the foot is one seventh of height

Foot


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Is the Vitruvian theory that height is equal to arm span true for British students today?

Complete the following tables by making the appropriate measurements of yourself and your classmates.


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Height is equal to arm span true for British students today?

* Leave fraction un-simplified

Click in a cell to enter data


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Elbow to hand is equals one quarter of height true for British students today?

* Leave fraction un-simplified

Click in a cell to enter data


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Length of the hand is one tenth of height true for British students today?

* Leave fraction un-simplified

Click in a cell to enter data


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Length of the foot is one seventh of height true for British students today?

* Leave fraction un-simplified

Click in a cell to enter data


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Some questions to think about… true for British students today?

What do you notice from the table of data?

Which pupils most closely fit Leonardo’s theory?

Not everybody has an arm span / height ratio equal to 1.

Why do you think this is?

Do you think the results would be the same for babies or seniors?

Who might be interested in your conclusions?


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