Damn you, Leonardo!!!


Leonardo Da Vinci has a lot to answer for, or should I say the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius does. Vitruvius said the human was the ‘principal source of proportion within the classical orders of architecture’ (thanks Wikipedia!).  The body was broken down into measurable proportions against known standards, and it was said that Vitruvius used these proportions within his architectural designs. Leonardo Da Vinci drew the picture which you see above, commonly known as The Vitruvian Man.  Leonardo loved maths, and had a keen interest in matters of proportion, so he sought to solve the problem of how to ‘square a circle’, that is, draw a circle with the same area as that of a square.  Da Vinci showed how this was possible with the ‘Vitruvian Man’ – using a compass fixed on the human navel, you can draw a circle that perfectly encompasses the body.  Similarly, he recognised that arm-span is almost identical to the height of a person, therefore placing the human body perfectly within a square.  So essentially he solved the problem of ‘squaring a circle’ metaphorically.  The drawing had much bigger implications, however, encompassing geometry, religion, and even philosophy.  It is an interesting concept, and thanks to the power of the interweb, you can find out loads more about it, should you be so inclined.

So….. why am I telling you this, and why am I damning Da Vinci, a veritable God among men?  Well, to be honest, it really has nothing to do with anything except for the name, and actually I think Da Vinci is pretty amazing, and I don’t really hold anything against him.  However, in a fit of madness this morning, I’ve signed up for the Vitruvian Triathlon in Leicestershire next August.  It is a half-iron distance event, with a 1900m swim, 85km bike ride followed by a 21km run. If the Roman architect hadn’t been so obsessed with proportion, and Da Vinci so clever, maybe the Vitruvian Man wouldn’t exist, so maybe the Vitruvian Triathlon would not exist either, and I wouldn’t be in for months of hard graft in the pool, on the bike and out along my local running paths.  Ah well, such is life! 😉

I must admit I’m slightly terrified at the thought of doing this race – it won’t be easy.  At the moment, my focus is on the Big Sur marathon, and in the immediate future, that won’t change.  However, I’ll need to reassess my training as we get into winter, as I’ll need to start introducing more cycling (by more I mean ‘some’), and get back to the pool for more than just a quick paddle then 30 mins in the spa pool……

Anyway, that’s for worrying about later.  For now, I just need to try to ignore the irony of signing up for an event named after a human body more proportioned than I could ever hope mine to be.  At the moment my stomach is the approximate shape of a large sphere, but that’s about the only tenuous correlation I can find.

At least now I have something else to aim for.  Vitruvian Woman, here I come……

Happy days 🙂

2 thoughts on “Damn you, Leonardo!!!

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