One of the most significant examples of study of proportions is Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man. A design that symbolised the “ideal man”. But the drawing also symbolizes the divine symmetry of the human body and, therefore, of the universe and nature. The circle is regarded as the most perfect shape, a symbol for pure spirit. The square is the symbol for the earth, its four sides are the four directions, the four seasons and the four elements. Leonardo with this design has managed to incorporate the square into a circle. We know well that one of the questions of philosophers and mathematicians throughout history was how to “square the circle”.
This study was aimed to define the proportions of a well figured body. We have his studies of head, face, whole body all using the same method that fits them inside a square and displays the points with an orthogonal and diagonal system. In the Vitruvian position we are also in search of the centre of the body.
The question is what happens when a body is not well figured. Should we consider it as disproportionate? Is always balance essential?