By examining various drawings from history, the nature and meaning of the Vitruvian Man, its geometry, measurements, spiritual and alchemical symbolism, can be accurately comprehended and understood. Using the original explanation from Vitruvius in (De Architectura, Book III, Chapter I - The Planning of Temples), and comparing it with the interpretations of historical drawings, knowledge of the canonical geometry, harmonic proportions, units of fractional and modular measurements, and the hidden spiritual and alchemical meanings can be defined and accurately determined through detailed study. This presentation will reveal the answer to many philosophical questions and give a better understanding of the Vitruvian Man geometry and measurements contained within the Square and Circle, as a sign and symbol of the ancient Philosopher's Stone.
The course will include:
Examples of different Vitruvian Man drawings from History
The Vitruvian Man drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and Cesariano
Vitruvian Man Geometry and Measurements
Squared Circle Geometry and the Vitruvian Man
The Man in the Squared Circle and the Desiderian Canon
The Vitruvian Man as the Philosopher's Stone
The Divine Nature and Perfect Stature of the Ideal Canonical Man
In the words of author John Michell, who was one of the world's experts on ancient knowledge and cosmology, "Man, temple, and Cosmos were therefore seen to be identical, and on this understanding the entire philosophy and science of the ancient world was founded." The Vitruvian Man inside of the Square and Circle represents the Divine Temple, the link between Heaven and Earth, and the Meso-cosm that unites the Microcosm with the Macrocosm of our known Universe.
THE MAN IN THE SQUARED CIRCLE
From the Desiderian Canon
by C. Lance Harding Ph.D.
The Greeks possessed the Ancient Canon
Whether or not, in addition to an innate feeling for beauty and art, the Greeks possessed a scientific basis for this work, a definite law of order, a canon, not of design, but of proportion. If there be such a law or canon, we should expect it to pervade the whole of Athenian Art: its poetry, its music, its vases, its temples, its paintings, its sculpture, and its military and naval architecture. Such a law would bind these separate manifestations into a unity. It would be the fundamental principle that would bring and compel conformity to the Hellenic ideal. (Robert W. Gardner, The Parthenon its Science of Forms, McGrath Publishing Company Washington D.C., page 9, 1973.)
The Role of Number in Art
Peter Lenz, (Father Desiderius) said, concerning the Canon of the Ancients and the role of number in art, "Hence, I sought to penetrate more deeply into the secrets of the technique of the ancients. The works of the early Christian and Byzantine artists, as well as those of Giotto, had indeed taught me that geometry and division are the principle factors in the execution of art, but I found wanting in those artists the conscious and intelligent application of these indispensable means. In the old Christian and Byzantine craftsmen the principles of measuring and dividing rest evidently on a very old and now weak tradition, in following which Giotto had consulted only his own feeling.
The old Greek masters appear, however, to have applied well-defined laws to this system of measurement and division. What were those laws? A careful investigation of the structure of plants and especially old Grecian vases then brought me many steps further and, finally, while studying the forms of vases, I came upon the monumental work of Lepsius on old Egyptian temple architecture. While reading this volume with the greatest of enthusiasm, it seemed to me that I had already seen those works of art before. For my innate feeling for number, symmetry, order, and repose found in them for the first time complete satisfaction, and also a religiosity, as I understood the term, an astonishing withdrawal of oneself into the depths of one's own soul and a profound self-absorption in the eternal mysteries.
Before these works, so full of dominating force and touching seriousness, it seemed to me that the Egyptians possessed the secret of moving the soul of man, of controlling his savage nature, and of awakening within him a mysterious awe. And in the application of this secret two means seem to have been employed: first, logic, an inexorable criticism, penetrating to the depths of all that is of vital necessity; and secondly, the law of symmetry and the harmony of dimensions. This idea, the harmony of dimensions, brought me to the domain of music. And now suddenly it became clear to me that, as music in melody and harmony is based upon relations of numbers, so also the mysterious force of simple numerical proportions (arithmetically 2:3, 3:4, 4:5, etc., and geometrically, the square roots of 2:3, 3:4, 4:5, etc.) is met with in the classical temples and sculptures of antiquity. That is in fact, the secret of their beauty.
Now at last I had ascertained what was essential, and when I came to Beuron, it was my dream to elevate all modern art, and to lead it back, purified and perfected by measurement, from a state of individual weakness to one of classical beauty. Our modern artists do not, however, appear as yet to wish to consider the subject of measurement. Number is precisely something divine, and our age lacks that deep religiosity which is characteristic of primitive peoples. It seems incapable of offering to the grace of God an open heart. What is the aim of art today? What is its philosophy of the beautiful? Where is its strength, where is its light?" (From: The Desiderian Canon, Desiderius Lenz, O.S.B., by Mark Steven Walker and translated by John A. Dahl, copyright 1974 by Mark Steven Walker, pages 1-3; Original quote from: Dom Willibrord Verkade, O. S. B., Yesterdays of an Artist Monk, translated by John L. Stoddard, New York, 1930)
The Dispensation of the Fullness of Times
In this the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times we have once again a pure and undefiled religion revealed and restored, available to all and to every individual.
(See: Ephesians 1:10; Doctrine and Covenants 27:12 -13; Moroni 10:3 - 5; Revelation 19:9-10)
Revealed Truth within each Individual - Each individual human body also contains revealed truth within itself: For within Man are contained all of the measurements and proportions necessary for Art.
The Geometry of "The Man in the Squared Circle"
The best description of "The Man in the Circle and Square" is the original one by Roman Architect Vitruvius, which may be best known from Leonardo da Vinci's famous drawing. Regarding the position of the man in the circle and the square, Vitruvius tells us, "Now the navel is naturally the exact center of the body. For if a man lies on his back with hands and feet outspread, and the centre of a circle is placed on his navel, his figure and toes will be touched by the circumference. Also a square will be found described within the figure, in the same way as a round figure is produced. For if we measure from the sole of the foot to the top of the head, and apply the measure to the outstretched hands, the breadth will be found equal to the height, just like sites which are squared by rule." (Vitruvius, On Architecture, Books I - V and VI - X, Translated by F. Granger, Book III, Chapter I - The Planning of Temples, page 161, Harvard, University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1983)
But the title of my drawing is "The Man in the Squared Circle". By this I refer to the circumference of the circle which is "Squared" to equal the perimeter of the square. With the navel being the center of the circle and at the "Golden Section" of the height of the square, the man is placed within the square, his height being equal to the side of the square, which is also equal to one-fourth of the circumference of the circle. The diameter of the circle is equal to forty (40) head-fourth units and the side of the square, or the height of the man, is the "Pi" equivalence of 31.416 head-fourths (10 Pi). This ratio of (40) divided by (10 Pi) or (4/Pi) between the square and the circle, then becomes the key relationship of the ancient canon, symbolizing the duo-nature - the spirit (or circle) and the body (the square), which make up the soul of man. (See: D&C 88:15-16) Hence, all of the unit measurements of the height of the human figure are units which are based upon the divisions of the circumference of the circle in relation to Pi and also Phi -"The Golden Section".
Measurements of the Ideal Man
"For without symmetry and proportion no temple can have a regular plan; that is, it must have and exact proportion worked out after the fashion of the members of a finely shaped human body." According to Vitruvius, the most important unit to ancient metrology is considered to be the Fathom of 24 units; all other units are computed as fractions of this fathom.
The length of the fathom is the distance between the tips of the middle fingers with the arms outstretched, which again is equal to the side of the square, the man's height. "For nature has so planned the human body that the face from the chin to the top of the forehead and the roots of the hair is a tenth part; also the palm of the hand from the center of the wrist to the top of the middle finger is as much; the head from the chin to the crown an eighth part; from the top of the breast with the bottom of the neck to the roots of the hair, a sixth part; from the middle of the breast to the crown a fourth part; a third part of the height of the face is from the bottom of the chin to the bottom of the nostrils; the nose from the bottom of the nostrils to the line between the brows, as much; from that line to the roots of the hair, the forehead is given as the third part. The foot is a sixth of the height of the body; the cubit a quarter, the breast also a quarter. The other limbs also have their own proportionate measurements. And by using these painters and famous sculptors have attained great and unbounded distinction"
So Vitruvius says that: A cubit, the distance from the tip of the middle finger to the end of the elbow is equal to a fourth part, as is the measure from the center of the breast to the crown of the head. The foot is a sixth part, and the head from chin to crown was an eighth part of a fathom. The "Fathom" for Vitruvius was equal to 4 Cubits, 6 Feet, 8 Heads, 10 Hand-lengths or Face-heights divided into 30 units, 24 Palms, and 96 Digits or Fingers. The Cubit was 6 Palms and 24 Fingers, and the Foot was 2/3 of a Cubit, 4 Palms and 16 Fingers.
The Fathom as calculated using the geometric Desiderian Canon and squared circle geometry is (40 Pi) units divided by the Golden Ratio cubed or 29.665 head-fourths, (40 Pi/Phi cubed (4.236) = 125.663 / 4.236 = 29.665 head-fourth units for a Fathom - often rounded off to 30 head-fourths or 7 _ head-heights).
To be more mathematically accurate, the Cubit would actually be based on the golden proportion, its exact measurement being equal to the total height of the man (31.416 hf.) divided by the golden section cubed, or 7.416 head-fourths, equal to _ Fathom of 29.665 head-fourths - 10 Pi / Phi cubed or the square root of 55. (This can apply to either an Egyptian Royal Cubit of 20.625 inches - large scale; or an Egyptian Small Cubit of 17.678 inches - 6/7 Royal Cubit - small scale.)
Now, if the man's hand is raised above his head with the elbow even with the top of the head, and another circle is drawn, with its center at the navel, around the man so that it touches the soles of his feet and toes and the tip of his middle finger above his head, then: the cubit, from the tip of the middle finger to the elbow and top of the head is in golden proportion to the distance from the top of the head to the navel, and this second distance is also in golden proportion to a third distance from the navel to the soles of the feet, just as in the modular work of Architect Le Corbusier and others.
This second circle then has a diameter of 10 Pi x (root 5 - 1) or 38.832 head-fourths. It is similar to the one in Leonardo's drawing and the one mentioned by Vitruvius. It corresponds to the "Body" while the other circle represents the "Spirit"; hence, giving the relationship between the inscribed five pointed star (the Pentagram) and the body of man. (Quotes from Vitruvius, On Architecture, Book III, Ch. I, pages 159-167; Information from: Eivind Lorenzen, Technological Studies in Ancient Metrology, NYT. Nordisk Forlag, Arnold Busck, Copenhagen, 1966, pages 10, 23-24, 34, 38; Le Corbusier, The Modular 1 & 2, Harvard University Press, 1980, pages 51, 66-67)
Man is the Temple
"We know through Vitruvius, the architect in the times of (Caesar) Augustus, that the classical ancients had a canon, that is the portrayal of the standard form of man and through it the knowledge of conformity with the law of the harmonious proportions of this most exalted work of creation - which knowledge elevated the spirit and nobility of their art so high that this art, even in our days, has retained the admiration of the world and remained unattainable. Vitruvius says of this canon: 'Allegedly it was Polyclitus (together with Phydias and Myron, students of Ayclades, VI Century B.C.) who gathered its rules, portrayed its laws and incorporated them into his works.'"
Temples built after the Canon of Man - "Vitruvius also reports that the ancients had constructed their temples according to and out of the measure of man" - "For without symmetry and proportion no temple can have a regular plan; that is, it must have an exact proportion worked out after the fashion of the members of a finely-shaped human body." "This formerly so famous canon of the ancients through which miracles of ideality had been created - for it is older than Polyclitus, its roots reach back into Egypt, Pythagoras had knowledge of its coming to Greece - was lost completely with the collapse of paganism. It is even questionable whether Vitruvius knew of it in its entirety."
"Since Giotto's time a number of qualified artists, physiologists, anthropologists of all nations searched and looked out with great effort for this so wonderful and prolific tool and instrument which is the foundation as well as the cornerstone of Art. They have searched, but they were unable to find, "the thing" the canon suiting the old art. Thus it is since Polyclitus, Vitruvius, Leonardo da Vinci, Durer, Lavater, Carus, Andran, Schadow, ZeisingŠ Following these an artist in Rome, our Senior master (Father Desiderius) himself, did also subject himself to this work and effort in the sixties of the last century, after he together with others had found Vitruvius' tracks when in the most painful manner he himself experienced its absolute necessity. Then, after much searching and questioning it happened on the feast day of St. Joseph of 1872, in Berlin that he had the courage to start constructing a human likeness through geometry."
"In using this saintly tool, geometry, (or the Seal of Solomon) the human likeness was found with one half hour. Everything was waiting and already prepared, it had only to be picked and correctly arranged." "The Beuron Canon bears the mark of simplicity, clarity, conformity with the law and inner urgency. Applied it lends to the human form the stamp of authority, of majesty and tranquility, of purity and holiness.
"The Beuron Canon grows organically out of the combination and penetration of three basic forms: Circle, Square, and Regular Triangle. There is no doubt that these three are the rudimentary arch forms of the creation, (symbolizing Form, Divide, and Beautify - the process of creation), and that all the endless variations in nature have originated in and may be reduced to them. These forms being prime cause, prime source, sum total and prime core of the total world form, prove themselves according to the Beuron Canon to be the constructive elements of the corporal nature of man. Also therein lies another proof for the accuracy of the canon."
Let us look at the "Double Triangle of Polyclitus", which is contained inside the Seal of Solomon or six-pointed Star of David. "It re-occurs again and again throughout the whole body in many reduced or enlarged variations always in its same proportion: arithmetically 1 : 2 equals geometrically root 1 : root 4, equals (root 3 : root 12). Father Desiderius says it is just as the master key, because it carries within it all the measures which are needed to construct man: V1, V2, V3, V4, V5, V6, and V8. Root five which brings in the most noble conformity of law, in the image of the woman in the "Golden Section", is hidden therein."
"According to theology, all material beings are distant images of the divine being, be it as individuals or within their organized totality. If this is true for all, it's also true in a special measure for the arch forms and arch figures of the visible creation. The circle with the cross and the triangle, especially have thus already long been considered a symbol of the Godhead or of the three-in-one God. According to the Canon these emblems of the three-in-one God (Godhead) also characterize the image of man in his visible appearance." (Quotes: Desiderius Lenz O.S.B., The Desiderian Canon, by Mark S. Walker, translated by John A. Dahl, copyright 1974, The Canon, its rediscovery and construction, pages 1-10)
So the ancients had taken the measure of man, the canon, for their temple buildings; such as, the most well known, the Great Pyramid in Egypt and the Parthenon in Greece. This was true also of the temple of old Jerusalem (Solomon's Temple) and the later Christian temples and cathedrals; as well as the measure of the New Jerusalem which should come down out of heaven. (See: Revelation 21 and Ether 13:3-12) "In most ancient world religions - Greek, Roman, Oriental, Phoenician, Hebrew - "The Temple"
We will penetrate into the very sacred mysteries of the Canons of Human Proportion.
These secrets were revealed during the initiatory experiences in the halls and temples of the ancient mystery traditions. But it was absolutely forbidden (on penalty of death) to reveal these tremendous revelations to the un-initiate. Having trained with the best sacred geometers in the world, studied the ancient traditions, and undergone our own inner revelations, we shall weave together what we know of these ancient mystery schools, and the deep insights and epiphanies engendered into the SECRET MYSTERIES OF NUMBER. And because "the whole Universe is enfolded into each part," as David Bohm used to say, it follows that understanding the human canon allows one to know the Universal Canon.
This is one Workshop you will not want to miss!
The object of a canon of human (or animal) proportions is to establish an ideal of a beautiful body whether in nature or in artistic reproduction. The aesthetic assumption implicit in the use of such canons in classical Antiquity, diametrically opposed to the aesthetic outlook of the 20th/21st centuries, is that by exactly reproducing the proportions of a beautiful living body and transferring them to stone or bronze (with some compensation in certain cases for distortions of optical perspective) the artist will produce a beautiful work of art. This assumption is present even in Isaiah (44: 13): 'The carpenter stretcheth out his rule; he marketh it [the image] out with a line; he fitteth it with planes and he marketh it out with the compass, and marketh it after the figure of a man according to the beauty of a man.'
Vitruvian Man : Leonardo da Vinci
Vitruvian Man is a famous drawing with accompanying notes by Leonardo Da Vinci made around the year 1490 in one his journals . It depicts a naked male figure in two super imposed positions with his arms apart and simultaneously circumscribed in a circle and square . The drawing and text are sometimes called the Canon o f Proportions .
The drawing is in pen ink and water color over metal point and measures 34 . 3 x 2 4 . 5cm. It is currently part of the collection of the Gallerie Dell'Accademia Venice According to leonardo’s notes in the accompanying text it was made a study of the proportions of the (male) human body as described in a treatise by the Ancient Roman Architect Vitruvius, who wrote that in the human body.
“A palm is the width of four fingers A foot is the width of four palms A cubit is the width of six palms A man’s height is four cubits (thus 24 palms) A pace is four cubits The distance from the hairline of the bottom of the chin is one-tenth of a man's height. The distance from the hairline to the breast bone is one-seventh a man’s height The distance of the head to the nipples is one-fourth a man’s height. The maximum width of the shoulder is one-fourth of a man. The distance of the elbow to the tip of the hand is one-fifth of a man’s height. The distance from the elbow to the armpit one-eighth of a man’s height. The length of the hand is one-tenth of a man’s height. The distance from the bottom of the chin to the nose is one third of the length of the face. The length of the ear is one-third of the length of the face.
The rediscovery of the mathematical proportions of the human body in the 15th century by Da Vinci and of others is considered one of the great achievements leading to the italian renaissance. The drawing itself is often used as an implied symbol of the essential symmetry of the human body, and by extension, to the universe as a whole, whether by mathematical order of intelligent design, or both. It may be noticed by examining the drawing that the combination of arm and leg positions actually creates four different poses. the pose with in the arms straight out the feet together rises to be circumscribed in the imposed square. On the other hand the spread eagle pose is seen to circumscribed in the superimposed circle
This illustrates the principle that in the shift between the two poses, the apparent centre of the figure seems to move an, but in reality. The navel of the figure, which is the true center of gravity, remains motionless. Vitruvius, the architect, says in this work on architecture at the measurements of the human body are as follow that is that 4 fingers made 1 palm, and 4 palms make 1 foot, 6 palms make 1 cubit, 4 cubits make a man’s height. and a man’s height is a pace. The length of a mans out spread arms is equal to his height. From the roots of his hair to the bottom of his chin in the tenth : from the bottom of the chin to the top off the head is one eighth of his top of the breast to the roots of the hair will be the 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 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 arm pit 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 of the eyebrow is in each case the same and like the ear and third of the face.”
-Text From. The Note Books of Leonardo da vinci vol. 1 ( of a volume sume set in paperback) pp. 182 - 3, Dover, ISBN 0-486-22572-0 Leonardo's Vitruvian Man
We know very little about Leonardo’s apprenticeship in Verrocchio's workshop. but the short account provided by Vasari Co n affirms that included architectural and technological design, according to a concept that was being revived on the model of Vitruvius as proposed by Albert (Pedretti 14) Having had access to albert and Vitruvius treatises it is no surprise that leonardo produced his own version of the Vitruvian man in his note books. This rendering of the vitruvian man, completed in 1490 is a fundamentally different that other in two ways. The and square image overlaid on top of each other from one image . a key adjustment was made that others had not done and thus were forced to make disproportionate appendage.
Leonardo’s famous drawings of the Vitruvian Proportions of a man’s body first and inscribed in a square and then with feet and arms out spread inscribed in a circle provides an excellent early example of the way in which his studies of proportion fuse artistic and scientific objectives. It is Leonardo, not Vitruvius, who points south at if you open the so as to reduce the by fourth and raise the arms so that your middle fingers touch the line through top of the head, know that the center of the extremities of out spread limbs will be the umbilicus, and the space between the legs will make an equilateral triangle. (Accademia Venice). here he provides of his simple illustrations of shifting center of magnitude with corresponding change of ventreoformalgravity. The remains passing through the central line from the pit of the throat the the umbilicus and pubis. between the legs. Leonardo repeatedly distinguishes the set wo different centres of a body ie the centers of magnitude gravidity .
When associated with ideas of beauty proportion usually refers to a harmonic relationship among the parts and between any part and the whole of an object, such a building or a body. It has often been linked with the notion of cosmic harmony. Thus when Leonardo wrote (Trattato 32) that the beauty of beautiful face consistent with divine proportionality in the composition of its member,he was thinking in terms of universal harmony of which proportioning particular things is intellectually appreciable reflection. THis sort of view was general; though not unopposed or alone in the field, until it gave way to more subjective conception in the 17th and 18th centuries. Thus Pot in us for example said that Practically everybody asserts that visible beauty is produced by symmetry of the parts towards each other towards the whole (Enneads, 1.6) he himself, however , refutes his view on the ground that if beauty consis in the proportion of the parts, the parts of beautiful object can not them themselves be beautiful, and this he is not prepared to accept.Further more he argues that the idea of proportion cannot be extended to moral and intellectual beauty. )Summateolgiae). And the cosmic ortheological extension given to the mathematical idea of proportion is evident in the following scholastic definition of the trinity as Three Persons coordinate in a marvellous harmony, the son being the image of the Father and the Holy ghost the link between them. (ulrich Engelbert, De Pulchro).
Alberti, who believed that beauty depended on rational order, never the less admitted that There are some who say that men are guided by a variety of opinions in the judgement of beauty and that in the form of structure must vary according to every man’s particular taste. Drer, who worked out more systems of proportion than any other great artist, tells how in his youth he heard of a canon of ideal human proportions from jacpode , Barbarian from this Vitruvius (1st Century BC) set himself to work out the ideal canon.