The Vitruvian Man

Friday, 1st August 2008 by

The Vitruvian Man (Wikipedia) was drawn around 1487 by Leonardo Da Vinci, and has since become not only the most famous of Da Vinci's works, but also one of the most famous images ever created. The drawing depicts a male nude in two superimposed positions within a square and a circle - the archetypal 'perfect man'. Da Vinci was a talented anatomical artist, and was apparently rather partial to regularly cutting up corpses to help hone his skills.

In fact the Vitruvian Man is more than just a pretty picture - it's also an extremely clever mathematical triumph, as it correctly relates the man's proportions to historic measurements, such as the foot (six of which add up to his height), the cubit, hand and fathom. The complexity of the design will forever ensure that no overly-ambitious artist attempts to re-create it on Google Earth using the medium of "crop maze".

Oh. Damn.

To give them their due credit, the people responsible for this German crop maze have done a pretty amazeing job - although, putting my ruler and pedantry skills into action showed that the "square" is more like 80 x 83m... and the circle is a bit wobbly compared to the original... but the positioning of the navel exactly in the centre is impressive!

This is actually the 2001 version of the town's annual hemp labyrinth tradition, which in the past has seen a particularly spectacular map of Europe, a portrait of Albert Einstein and a tribute to the 2004 Athens Olympics. You can see aerial photos of them all at the maze's website.

Thanks to godlike.