Sample Lesson

From the book: Nature, Number, and Geometry

Man the Measure

Lesson Man the Measure

Figure 42 shows some of the ways that the Golden Proportion is inherent in the proportions of the human body. The figure may remind you of Leonardo Da Vinci's famous drawing of the man drawn within a circle inscribed within a square. That drawing describes Leonardo's calculation of the canon of proportion of the human being measured according to the Golden Ratio. If one measures the length of the human body from head to foot, the Golden Cut falls exactly at the navel. The ancient Egyptians and Greeks measured the body into seven exact f proportions. For instance, the length of the chin to the crown of the head finds its Golden Mean at the brow above the eyes. From elbow to the tip of the fingers finds another Golden Proportion at the point of the wrist. Many such Golden Ratio relationships are distributed throughout the human skeleton.

Follow the steps of the five-division of the circle and form the pentagram inscribed within it. We will find the points where the navel, the heart, the larynx, and the top of the knees will go and from these reference points, the student will find the figure of the man inscribed in the pentagram. [The student may wish to draw a woman or a clothed figure instead of the man.] Make this a circle with about a 3 inch radius, in other words, not too small. Notice the labeling of points a and b on the illustration. Set the compass needle at point a (the figure's left foot) and open the compass to a distance of a to b. Swing an arc to the left. Now set the needlepoint on the adjacent vertice of the pentagon (the figure's right foot) and swing an arc to the right. These two arcs will intersect exactly at where the figure's navel should be. Now we will find the heart center.

The five points of the star are five Golden Triangles (one at the head, two at the arms, and two at the legs). Look at the top point at the figure's head (point c). Set the compass to the length of the side of the head triangle (point c to point a ). Leaving the compass set to this distance of c to a, set the needle point on point x and swing an arc across the center vertical. This locates the heart center.

Again set the compass for the distance of c to a, and placing the needle on point c (at the crown of the figure's head) swing an arc from side to side to locate the elbow joints at either side.

Notice that the intersecting vertical and horizontal at the center of the circle finds the location of sexual organs.

To find the top of the knees, we must measure from the top of the hip (the ilium). This place is indicated by points e and d. Notice that it is slightly above the navel, and just below the horizontal of the star's two arms. Incidentally, this cross horizontal of the star shows us the location of the bottom of the rib cage. Points d and e lie on the arcs drawn to find the navel. Again set the compass for the distance of c to a ( the triangle at the star's head). With this distance fixed, set the needle on point d and measure to the opposite side to find to find the top of the knee of the figure's right leg. Now set the needle point on point e (again set at the same distance of c to a) and swing an arc to find the distance to the top of the knee of the opposite leg (the figure's left leg.)

The distance from point a to point x will find the larynx. With all of these points located, the student will be able to draw a well- proportioned human figure.