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vitruman is a Java webstart application. It may take some time for download. Get the application

The 3D model of vitruman is from Jonathan West via 3DCafe (

Leonardo da Vinci was investigating motions and in particular motions of the human body. In fact he was thinking about designing a humanoid robot . Some of his thoughts (moto actionale) about body motions are also described in the Codex Huygens by his pupil Carlo Urbino (see also Erwin Panofsky). Da Vinci tried to find laws for human motions and he tried to find laws for the proportions of the human body. These kind of thoughts of him are often seen as being represented in his famous drawing of the vitruvian man.

However there exist no strict proportions of a human body. They are all different. Leonardo was certainly aware of this fact and we think that Leonardo didnĀ“t necessarily wanted to classify the human body or find principles, but that he rather intended to find may be some simple rules for his machines or that he just found it beautiful to follow mathematical rules in his drawings (like mathematician/painter Albrecht Duerer did). Who knows.

As a matter of fact, given any body, you can allways find some simple geometric shapes, which make the body look as obeying some hidden mathematical law. The reason for this lies e.g. in the mathematical fact that you can draw a circle through ANY given three points.

vitruman is a comment about body proportions and human motion.

More interactive 3D graphics coming soon.

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