A THOUSAND WORDS
Mary Elizabeth Podles on Christian Art

Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man

Today’s column revisits an old friend, known to us from a thousand coffee cups and mouse pads, Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. Like a Coca-Cola sign, so familiar is he that we no longer actually read him but jump ahead to the next association: mental stimulation (coffee cup), brilliant thoughts at our fingertips (mouse pad), and so on. Poor Man! Surely that was not the fate Leonardo had in mind when he so carefully inscribed you in his notes. For Leonardo, the illustrated Man was the distillation of his studies of human anatomy as an artist, a scientist, and a philosopher, in an age . . .

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Mary Elizabeth Podles is the retired curator of Renaissance and Baroque art at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. She and her husband Leon, a Touchstone senior editor, have six children and live in Baltimore, Maryland.

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more on art from the online archives

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