The Perfect Proportions



Leonardo worked hard to get knowledge in all manifestations: the art, science, the technique… It was convinced that “the knowledge did not occupy place” and trusted blindly the capacity of the man to explore all horizons. After half century, his figure became a referring one for the contemporary culture. His spirit of curiosity and his thirst of knowledge continue astonishing many people who follow the same interests as him.

Just inaugurated the third millennium, the image of Leonardo invites to a reflection: In the era of the specialization of the knowledge, computer science and technology, has use a scholar, a total wise person like him. He was ahead of his time. He wanted to project without restrictions his ideas and discoveries, but his bold intelligence exceeded the limits of understanding of any human being of his time. Their dowries of visionary were amazing. For example, in the field of aviation. His studies on flying machines anticipated the effect of elevation and the one of propulsion, the stability and the balance. The wings that he outlined applied in the first airplanes. And his aerial sketches considers theoretical ancestor of the helicopter.

The man of the Vitruvio by Leonardo is a drawing by pen and ink, realised in a great leaf of paper (34 xs 24 cm.), that is conserved in the Academy of Venice, it was in its origin an illustration for a book titled Of Divine proportione (the divine proportion) of the Franciscan friar and innovating mathematician Luca Pacioli (1445 - 1517. He opened his colloquy on the divine proportion with a commentary on the proportions of the human body, observing that in the humanity.

All kinds of proportion and proportionality can be found and produced at the behest of god through the intimate mysteries of nature. Commentaries as this one makes clear why Leonardo would have found in Pacioli a mind in affection with his. For both the harmonic proportions of the human body were not more than one of the many intimate mysteries of the nature that reflected the perfection of  nature.

In his Studio (Real Academy of Venice), also known like the Vitruvio, Leonardo made a vision of the man like center of the universe, when being inside in a circle and squaring. The squared one is the base of the classic : the unit of the squared one is used in all the classic architecture, the use of the angle of ninety degrees are bases of the Latin- Greek architecture. In it an anatomical study is realized looking for the proportionality of human body, the classic or ideal canon of beauty. It follows the studies of Vituvrio"s architect (Marcus Vitruvius Pollio) Roman architect of century I AC, to whom Julio Cesar, orders the construction of military machines. In time of Augusts  he wrote ten volumes of his work “Of Architecture”, that deals with about the hydraulic construction, solar quadrants, mechanics and its applications in civil architecture and military engineering. The man of Vitruvio is a clear example of the globalizing approach of Leonardo that development very quickly during second half of the decade of 1480. He tried to tie, the architecture and the human body, an aspect of his interpretation of nature and the place of the humanity in the “global plan of  things”.

Leonardo empirically corrects the errors of the measurements of Vitruvio, obtaining the measures, surpasses the old canon and recreates an illustration of the descriptions of Vitruvio that is considered until today the most perfect. The drawing represents a man in two different positions that correspond two phrases of the text.  The one that has the legs together and open and the extended arms horizontally illustrates the sentences written under the drawing: As much apre I'omo nelle braccia quanto è sua altezza, that is to say, the width of the extended arms of a man is equivalent to its height. The other figure, with the separated legs and the raised arms, expresses a specialized vitruviana rule more: “If you open the legs as much as to diminish your weight in 1/14 and raise the extended arms until the ends of the middle fingers are at the level of the top of your head, you will find that the center of your members extended is the navel and that the space between the legs is an equilateral triangle”.

The Anatomy

In the human body the central point is, by nature, the navel. Then if we located a man lied down on his back, with the extended hands and feet and a compass centered in the navel, the fingers of their hands and their feet touch the perimeter of a circle that we draw up from that point. And as well as the human body produces a circular contour also can be formed a figure squared from him. Since if we measured the distance between the plants of the feet to the arms and the crown and applied that measurement to the extended arms we will see that the width is just as the height, as it happens to the flat surfaces that are totally square.

Part of the force of the drawing resides in the interrelation of abstract geometry and the resulting physical reality of the observation. The body of the man is schematic but their contours and muscles are perfectly drawn. The feet seem to rest on a inferior line of the squared or to press the curve of the circle. The double figure produces the sensation of movement that could be the one of a gymnast or the one of a man who raised and lowered the arms like wings of a bird. The body is drawn with the clean and austere lines of a diagram, but the face appears tried about a very different way. It is more intensely worked, more dramatically shaded; it watches to us with angry expression. The characteristics in this sense respond to an ideal or prototype.

And, nevertheless, the whole drawing seems to be a realistic representation of those abstract biometrics symmetries, so that the severe personage enrolled in the circle turns out to be, not a number, but somebody, a man of penetrating eyes deeply shaded and thickens hair and curly combing with a line in the middle. It can to say that is at least some elements of self-portrait in “Man of Vitruvio”, the figure that represents the natural harmony also symbolizes the man equipped with an extraordinary capacity to understand it, to the artist-anatomist-architect who was Leonardo da Vinci.

The recognition on the part of the Master Leonardo of the concept of the divine proportion was reflected in his diverse anatomical works. He had the idea to realize a great work with detailed reproductions of the human body including studies of compared anatomy and physiology. The depth and rigor of their investigations took him to indicate the first theories on the muscular spasms in the cardiac valves. Some wanted to see in these inclinations a morbid motivation, but the certain thing is that Leonardo stayed faithful to his destiny: to be explorer of the knowledge.

A good example is the series of drawings that created in the final stage of his life under the title of “Visions of the end of the world”, where the fantasy and the reason reached an incomparable level. Leonardo felt attracted by all the natural sciences. By means of his precursory anatomical investigations he tried to understand the most recondite secrets of the body and to enter the same marrow of the creation, and in this process he arrived at a new understanding of the health and the treatment, understanding that amazingly prophesies the holistic approach of many present doctors , he wrote, and believed that to maintain a good health the harmonious integration of the elements of the body and the soul was essential.Thus, he practiced dissections in a hospital, anatomical works, observations of the flight of the birds and studies on the nature and the movement of the water. Fantasy and reason: These, indeed, were the ingredients that fed the spirit on one of the most fascinating personalities of history: Leonardo da Vinci.

The studies that did Leonardo Da Vinci, for its universality of its certainties that have served to contemporaries practitioners of the alternative medicine, among them doctor Dale Schusterman, one of the most efficient and mighty therapists of the new generation, settles down the foundation of the philosophy that underlies his work with a language extraordinarily similar to the Leonardo: "The human body and the model of energy that surrounds it is a miniature replica of a more comprehensive and universal order. This doctor express in his study that the great traditions of the knowledge, including the Jewish mysticism like cabala is based on the acceptance of which the human has been created to image of a cosmic being. Therefore, the humanity would have to be able, like Da Vinci, to see the cosmic design of our human form. Aside from which our form reflects a superior model, our human qualities like beings are the same like that the divine ones, like a drop of water contains the same properties that the ocean.

Therefore the forces that govern the cosmos in the macro level govern to the individual in the micro level. The life is one, and all forms are interrelated in enormously complicated whole, although inseparable one. The underlying unit transforms itself into a bridge between the microcosm and the macrocosms.  The Master Da Vinci tried to understand that the totality of the form and the substance of the man to deepen in what is life, what is the health. Remember that the the paradigm of healing determines the quality of life. If you cultivate an awareness of the unity of body, emotions, mind and spirit, you will discover a deeper sense of the fullness of the divine proportion

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