chapter  7
29 Pages

BODY and BUILDING

During the late 1400s, famed Renaissance artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci created

one of his most famed drawings: Vitruvian Man. The drawing is so well regarded that Italians selected the Vitruvian Man to adorn their national one Euro coin starting in 2002. Developed from the writings of Vitruvius’s Ten Books on Architecture, the drawing depicted a male figure inscribed within a circle and square. The drawing became highly influential,

as, in the late 1400s, new editions of Vitruvius’ Classical text were being published, but

the majority possessed no illustrations. For the discipline of architecture, da Vinci’s drawing

provided an important image for one of Vitruvius’ most foundational concepts. According

to Peter Eisenman, Vitruvian Man was seen as the “ideal origin” of architecture.1 Derived from the human body, or, more accurately, a “well-shaped man,” Vitruvius’ text and da

Vinci’s drawing provided principles regarding hierarchy, proportion, order, geometry,

organization, symmetry, and part-to-whole relationships, which, at the time, were the

most important aspects of architectural design.