This work recounts the intellectual journey behind the creation of Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man and how the drawing represents the momentous period in Western history when the Middle Ages gave way to the Renaissance. Vitruvian Man is the world's most famous drawing, by one of the world's most famous artists. The image has become visual shorthand for artistic genius and scientific inquiry, and yet nobody knows anything about it. In it the author examines the forces that converged in 1490 to turn an idea that had been around for centuries into this iconic image, bringing the ghost of an unknown Leonardo da Vinci back to life. Populated by a colorful cast of characters, including Brunelleschi of the famous Dome, the book opens up a surprising window onto the artist and philosopher himself and the tumultuous intellectual and cultural transformations he bridged. Rooted in little-known episodes of the artist's colourful career, and taking in ideas including theories of the cosmos, Roman land-surveying and the relationship between anatomy and architecture, the book tells the story of his evolving, lifelong study of the human body.
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