study of the porportions of the head and body (c. 1490) by Leonardo da Vinci

study of the porportions of the head and body - Leonardo da Vinci - c.1490

Artwork Information

Titlestudy of the porportions of the head and body
ArtistLeonardo da Vinci
Dimensions21.3 x 15.3 cm
Art MovementHigh Renaissance
Current LocationWindsor Castle, Royal Library, London
Location Created Milan, Italy

About study of the porportions of the head and body

The artwork, titled “Study of the Proportions of the Head and Body,” was crafted by the renowned High Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci around 1490. Employing metalpoint on paper, da Vinci created this work as a sketch and study, focusing on the meticulous examination of human anatomy. The artwork measures 21.3 by 15.3 centimeters and is part of the collection held at the Windsor Castle, Royal Library in London. The creation took place in Milan, Italy, signifying Leonardo’s ongoing dedication to anatomical precision and contributing to the artistic and scientific knowledge of his time.

The artwork exemplifies Leonardo da Vinci’s keen interest in the science of proportion, an aspect of his broader fascination with the human form and its depiction. It showcases a profile view of a man’s head and upper body, meticulously delineated with crisply defined contours. The head is overlaid with a grid, demarcating various distances and alignments within the features, suggesting a methodical approach to understanding the ratios of the face. An additional, faintly sketched full-body form is seen beside the central figure, hinting at a further exploration of bodily proportion.

Accompanying the visual elements, the sheet is inscribed with mirror writing, typical of da Vinci’s style, which provides a textual element that may offer insights into his thoughts or instructions related to the study. The subdued coloration and precision of the lines are indicative of the metalpoint technique, which allows for fine detailing, aiding Leonardo’s scientific inquiry into the dimensions and structure of the human body.

The precision and clarity of the work, alongside its delicate execution, not only serve as a testament to Leonardo’s mastery of drawing but also reflect the spirit of the High Renaissance, during which artists pursued a deep understanding of the natural world through observation and empirical study. This artwork stands as a prime example of the intersection between art and science during this pivotal era of European history.

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