Vitruvian Man meets Modern Man

    If this defines how the Renaissance saw the correlations of ideal human proportions with geometry, as described by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius, who described the human figure as being the principal source of proportion for the Classical orders of architecture; and whose writings on the subject Leonardo includes on the page,

    Then this defines the Modern idea of the correlations of human proportions with geometry, described by the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who designed the building and is photographed in it. No words are seen- in the beginning of the modern era was silence- and we are smaller in the frame. But here Modern Man is again the principal source of proportion; and we can use geometry to find the coordinates of a place in which we will feel comfortable in the modern universe.

    Perhaps not as comfortable as Leonardo's Vitruvian Man. He is firmly rooted at the center of the universe. We "float, " off-center.


    Top: Leonardo da Vinci, Vitruvian Man, c. 1487

    Bottom: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe standing in S.R. Crown Hall,
    the architecture school he designed at the Illinois Institute of Technology, c. 1956
    Photograph: Hedrich-Blessing

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