I am inspired by the 2002 Leonardo Davinci project submission of student Michael John Gorman’s STS 102: “Leonardo: Science, Technology, and Art” at Stanford University, Fall 2002. Gorman’s commentary and academic submission on Davinci’s sketch of the Vitruvian Man explores a lasting thesis on design. The Vitruvian Man concept and written imagery was first presented by Marcus Vitruvius in his exposition, De Architectura, Book III, Chapter 1. In the late 1400s, art student Davinci visualized and expressed Vitruvius’ idea of design symmetry; a visual examined by students for over 500 years. While Davinci is the only man who could truly explain his drawings, Virtruvius’ inspiration lends to an appreciation for aesthetic, symmetrical building design. As a Christian an artist I ponder what would a life centered on Christ, and not the navel, look like? The sketching begins.
“Similarly, in the members of a temple there ought to be the greatest harmony in the symmetrical relations of the different parts to the general magnitude of the whole. Then again, in the human body the central point is naturally the navel. For if a man can be placed flat on his back, with his hands and feet extended, and a pair of compasses centered at his navel, the fingers and toes of his two hands and feet will touch the circumference of a circle described therefrom. And just as the human body yields a circular outline, so too a square figure may be found from it. For if we measure the distance from the soles of the feet to the top of the head, and then apply that measure to the outstretched arms, the breadth will be found to be the same as the height, as in the case of plane surfaces which are completely square.” Marcus Vitruvius, De Architectura, Book III, Chapter 1, p 3