Vitruvian Man


My dear friend, and real poet, Mark Tappmeyer, recently emailed me to let me know he was reading Walter Isaacson’s Leonardo da Vinci, and that he had come across the discussion of Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawing of Vitruvius Man. He added “I’m wondering, for the sake of an unwritten poem, if Vitruvius, or anyone, has ever assigned proportions to the soul. What thoughts come to mind about any of this? I’m scratching after ideation for that poem.” So, what did I do?! Yep, fabricated a poem on the Vitruvian Man. First, some information as to Vitruvius.

“Vitruvius, an ancient Roman architect, lived in the 1st century BC. Vitruvius had a particular interest in the proportions of the human body. In Book 3 of De Architectura, he sets down his canone – or system – for understanding human proportion, complete with precise measurements and elaborate geometrical relationships. Such knowledge was important to Vitruvius because in his view, architecture is essentially an imitation of nature. He believed that understanding the proportions of the body leads to a better grasp of desirable proportion in buildings. Vitruvius’ work on human proportion has sparked the interest of several artists through the centuries. Leonardo da Vinci famously illustrated the proportional canon in his drawing known simply as The Vitruvian Man.“

Vitruvian Man: (aka: proportionality)

Deep inside the youngsters’ song, askew was made anew.
The old redeemed by an act of love, the crooked became true.
“Zacchaeus was a wee little man; a wee little man was he”.
His heart was wee and needy; so very much like me.
So important, those four chambers, as only God could see.
That Jesus called to Zacchaeus “Come down from that old tree”.
With loving invitation Jesus said, “At your house I’ll dine.
Zacchaeus was so very glad to have Jesus come recline.
Encircled by Jesus realigning love, the wee and needy heart was changed.
Full of redeemed intentions, no longer so deranged.
He squared his wrongs and made them right: proportionality.
Jesus enabled new proportions, and new balance came to be.
Zacchaeus, now a reborn man, stood tall as tall could be.
No more askew, but made brand new, so thankful for the tree.
Like He did for wee Zacchaeus, Jesus did for you and me;
He sacrificed, He shed His blood, He hung upon a tree.
Fashioned us in our mothers’ wombs, with fear and wonder made.
Even true of Jesus, before He was in the manger laid.
Leonardo drew Vitruvian Man, reflective of man created,
As drawn by a grade school truism that left me fascinated.
“A string twice around the thumb, goes once around the wrist.
Twice around the wrist equals once around the neck.
And, twice around the neck, goes once around the waist.
Then, twice around the waist is equal to one’s height.”
I tried it then, it came out as true, I did not try it again.
If I am disproportionate, I can assume it is due to sin!

Richard L. Brewer






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