Who or What is the Vitruvian Man?
The Vitruvian Man was created by Leonardo da Vinci around the year 1487. It is accompanied by notes based on the work of the famed architect, Vitruvius Pollio. The drawing, which is in pen and ink on paper, depicts a 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 called the Canon of Proportions or, less often, Proportions of Man. It is stored in the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice, Italy, and, like most works on paper, is displayed only occasionally.
The proportional relationship of the parts reflects universal design. And a "medical" equilibrium of elements ensures a stable structure. These qualities are thus shared equally by God's creation of the human body and the human being's own production of a good building. In the late 1480s, this theme of the artistic microcosm emerged as one of the unifying principles of his thought. This architectural application is not the end of the matter, however; it only represents the beginning of a concepts which had a literally universal application.