Lionardo da Vinci

Human Proportion


Human Proportions 

'The span of a mans outstretched arms is equal to his height! 

{Proportions of the human figure] 

  • From the chin to the starting of the hair is a tenth part of the figure. 
  • From the junction of the palm of the hand as far as the tip of the middle finger a tenth part. 
  • From the chin to the top of the head an eighth part. 
  • And from the pit of the stomach to the top of the chest is a sixth part. 
  • And from the fork of the ribs as far as the top of the head a fourth part. 
  • And from the chin to the nostrils is a third part of the face. 
  • And the same from the nostrils to the eyebrows, and from the eyebrows to the starting of the hair. 
  • And the foot is a sixth part, and the forearm to the elbow a fourth part. The breadth across the shoulders a fourth part. c.a. 358 r. a 

 

 

There is as great a distance between the commencement of the one ear and that of the other as there is from the space between the eye 
brows to the chin. 

The size of the mouth in a well proportioned face is equal to the distance between the parting of the lips and the bottom of the chin. a 62 v. 
[ With sketches of heads] 

The cut or angle of the lower lip is midway between the bottom of the nose and the bottom of the chin. 

The face in itself forms a square, of which the breadth is from one extremity of the eyes to the other, and the height is from the top of the nose to the bottom of the lower lip, and what is left over above and below this square has the height of a similar square. 

The ear is precisely as long as the nose. 

The slit of the mouth when seen in profile points to the angle of the jaw. 

The length of the ear should equal the distance from the bottom of the nose to the top of the eyelid. 

The space between the eyes is equal to the size of one eye. 

In profile the ear is above the middle of the neck. a 63 r. 

 

[Proportions] 

The foot from the toe to the heel goes twice into the space from the heel to the knee, that is to say where the bone of the leg is joined to that of the thigh. 

The hand as far as where it unites with the bone of the arm goes four times into the space from the tip of the longest finger to the joint of the shoulder. b 3 v. 

Every man at the third year is half his height. h 31 v. 

 

[Weight and movements of man] 

The leg as far as its junction with the thigh is a quarter of the whole weight of the man. 

The man draws more weight downwards than upwards, first because he gives more of his weight out of his central line, then because he passes all his foot from the central line; and thirdly because he does not slip with his feet. l 28 r. 

The space between the line of the mouth and the beginning of the nose a b, is the seventh part of the face. 

The space from the mouth to the bottom of the chin c d, is the fourth part of the face and equal to the width of the mouth. 

The space from the chin to the beginning of the bottom of the nose e f, is the third part of the face and equal to the nose and to the forehead. 

The space from the middle of the nose to the bottom of the chin g h is half the face. 

The space from the beginning of the top of the nose where the eyebrows begin, i \, to the bottom of the chin is two thirds the face. 

The space between the line of the mouth and the beginning of the chin above, / m, that is where this chin ends terminating with the under lip, is the third part of the distance from the line of the mouth to the bottom of the chin and the twelfth part of the face; from the top to the bottom of the chin m n is the sixth part of the face, and it is the fifty-fourth part of the man. 

From the point of the chin to the throat o p, is equal to the space from the mouth to the bottom of the chin and the fourth part of the face. 

The space from the top of the throat to its beginning below, q r, is half the face and the eighteenth part of the man. 

From the chin to the back of the neck s t is the same distance as is between the mouth and the beginning of the hair, that is three quarters of the head. 

From the chin to the jaw v x is half the head and equal to the thickness of the neck in profile. 

The thickness of the neck goes one and three quarter times from the eyebrow to the nape of the neck. Quaderni vi 4 r. 

The whole foot will go between the elbow and the wrist, and between the elbow and the inner angle of the arm towards the breast when the arm is folded. The foot is as long as the whole head of the man, that is from beneath the chin to the very top of the head as is here shown. 

The foot goes three times from the tip of the long finger to the shoulder, that is to its joint. 

The nose will make two squares; that is the breadth of the nose at the nostrils will be contained twice between the point of the nose and the beginning of the eyebrows; and similarly in profile the distance from the extreme edge of the nostril, where it unites with the cheek, to the tip of the nose, will be equal to the width of the nose in front from one nostril to the other. 

If you divide into four equal parts the whole length of the nose, that is from its tip to the insertion of the eyebrows, you will find that one of these parts extends from the top of the nostrils to the bottom of the point of the nose, and the upper part extends from the lachrymatory duct of the eye to the insertion of the eyebrows; and the two parts in the middle are equal to the length of the eye from the lachrymatory duct to its corner. Quaderni v 5 r. 

 

From the roots of the hair to the top of the breast a b is a sixth of a man's height; and this measure never varies. 

It is as far from the outside part of one shoulder to another as it is from the top of the breast to the navel, and this goes four times into the distance from the sole of the foot to where the bottom of the nose begins. 

The arm, from where it separates itself from the shoulder in front, goes six times into the space between the two extremities of the shoulders and three times into a man's head and four into the length of the foot and three into the hand whether on the inside or the outside. Quaderni vi 6 r. 

The foot from its beginning in the leg as far as the extremity of the big toe is equal to the space between the beginning of the top of the chin and the starting of the hair a b, and it is equal to five sixths of the face. Quaderni vi 7 v. 

 

 

If anyone kneels down he will lessen his height by a fourth part. If a man be kneeling with his hands across his breast the navel will be at the half of his height and so will be the points of the elbows. The half of a man seated, that is from the seat to the crown of the head, will be from the arm below the breast and below the shoulder; this seated portion, that is from the seat to the crown of the head, will exceed the half the man's height by the breadth and length of the testicles. Quaderni vi 8 r. 

 

A cubit is the fourth part of a man's height and it is equal to the greatest width of the shoulders. From the one shoulder joint to the other is twice the head, and it is equal to the distance from the top of the breast to the navel. From this top to the commencement of the penis is the length of a head. Quaderni vi 8 v. 

The foot is as much longer than the hand as the thickness of the arm to the wrist, that is where it is thinnest, seen in front. 

Also you will find that the foot is as much longer than the hand as the space on the inner side from the join of the little toe to the last projection of the big toe, taking the measure along the length of the foot. 

 

The palm of the hand without the fingers goes twice into the foot without the toes. 

If you hold your hand with its five fingers extended and close together you will find that it is as wide as the maximum width of the foot, that is where it is joined to the toes. 

And if you measure from the point of the ankle on the inside to the end of the big toe, you will find that this measure is as long as the whole hand. 

From the top of the joint of the foot to the top of the insertion of the toes is as far as from the commencement of the hand to the point of the thumb. 

The smallest width of the hand is equal to the smallest width of the foot between its joining with the leg and the commencement of the toes. 

The width of the heel at its under side is equal to the thickness of the arm where it joins the hand, and also to the leg where it is thinnest viewed in front. 

The length of the longest toe from where it begins to be divided from the big toe to its extremity is the fourth part of the foot, that is from the centre of the ankle bone on the inner side to its tip; and it is equal to the width of the mouth. And the space that there is between the mouth and the chin is equal to that between the knuckles of the three middle fingers and their first joints, when the hand is extended, and equal to the [distance from] the joint of the thumb to the beginning of the nail when the hand is extended, and it is a fourth part of the hand and of the face. 

The space between the inner and outer extremities of the poles of 
the feet called the heels or ankles or bands of the feet, a b, is equal to 
the space between the mouth and the lachrymatory duct of the eye. 

Quaderni vi 9 r. 

The big toe is the sixth part of the foot, measuring it in profile on 
the inside, where this toe springs, from the ball of the sole of the foot 
towards its extremity a b\ and it is equal to the distance from the 
mouth to the bottom of the chin. If you are doing the foot in profile 
from the outside make the little toe begin three quarters up the length 

 

HUMAN PROPORTIONS 211 

of the foot, and you will find the distance that there is lrom the begin- 
ning of this toe to the farthest projection of the big toe. 

Quaderni vi 9 v. 

Width across shoulders one quarter of the whole. From the joint of 
the shoulder to the hand one third, from the line of the lip to below 
the shoulder-blade is one foot. 

From the top of the head to the bottom of the chin one eighth. 
From the commencement of the hair to the chin is one ninth of the 
distance there is from this commencement to the ground. The greatest 
width of the face is equal to the space between the mouth and the 
commencement of the hair, and it is one twelfth of the whole height. 
From the top of the ear to the top of the head is equal to the distance 
from the bottom of the chin to the lachrymatory duct of the eyes. 
And equal to the distance from the point of the chin to that of the 
jaw, and it is the sixteenth part of the whole. The bit of cartilage 
' pincierolo' which is within the hole of the ear towards the nose is half 
way between the nape of the neck and the eyebrow. 

The greatest thickness of a man from the breast to the spine goes 
eight times into the height and is equal to the space between the chin 
and the crown of the head. 

The greatest width is at the shoulders and this goes four times. 

The breadth of the neck in profile is equal to the space there is from 
the chin to the eyes, and equal to the space from the chin to the jaw, 
and it goes fifteen times into the whole man. 

The arm bent is four heads. 

The arm from the shoulder to the elbow in bending increases its 
length, that is the length from the shoulder to the elbow; and this 
increase is similar to the thickness of the arm at the wrist when you 
see it in profile, and similar to the distance from the bottom of the 
chin to the line of the mouth. And the thickness of the two middle 
fingers of the hand, and the width of the mouth, and the distance from 
where the hair begins on the forehead to the crown of the head — these 
things that I have mentioned are similar to each other, but not similar 
to the above named increase in the arm. 

The arm from the elbow to the hand never increases when it is bent 
or straightened. 

 

2i2 HUMAN PROPORTIONS 

The arm when bent will measure twice the head from the top of 
the shoulder to the elbow, and two from this elbow to where the four 
fingers begin on the palm of the hand. The distance from where the 
four fingers begin to the elbow never changes through any change of 
the arm. 

The lesser thickness of the leg as seen in front goes into the thigh 
three times. 

The thickness of the arm at the wrist goes twelve times into the 
whole arm, that is from the tips of the fingers to the shoulder-joint, 
that is three into the hand and nine into the arm. 

The minimum thickness of the arm in profile, m n, goes six times 
from the joint of the hand to the dimple of the elbow extended, four- 
teen times into the whole arm, and forty-two times into the whole man. 

The maximum thickness of the arm in profile is the same as the 
maximum thickness of the arm in front. But the one is placed in the 
third of the arm from the joint to the breast, the other in the third 
from the joint to the hand. Quaderni vi 10 r. 

A man is the same width below the arms as at the hips. 

A man's width across his hips is the same as the distance from the 
top of the hips to the bottom of the buttocks when he is standing 
equally balanced on both his feet; and it is the same distance from the 
top of the hips to the joining of the shoulders. The waist or the part 
above the hips will be half way between the joining of the shoulders 
and the bottom of the buttocks. Quaderni vi n r. 

The maximum thickness of the calf of the leg is in the third of its 
height a b, and it is a twentieth part larger than the maximum breadth 
of the foot. 

When a man lies down his height is reduced to a ninth. 

The thickness of the thigh in front is equal to the greatest breadth 
of the face as seen, that is two-thirds of the distance from the chin to 
the crown of the head. 

I would know how much one increases when raising one's self on 
tip-toe; and when bending how much p q decreases, and how much 
n q increases; and so also with the bend of the foot. 

Quaderni vi n v. 

 

HUMAN PROPORTIONS 213 

The minimum thickness of the leg in front goes eight times from 
the sole of the foot to the joint of the knee, and it is the same as the 
arm in front at the wrist, and as the maximum length of the ear and 
tbe three spaces in which the face is divided; and this breadth goes four 
times from the wrist to the point of the elbow. 

The foot is as broad as the width of the knee between a b\ the 
patella is as broad as the leg between r s. 

From the tip of the longest finger to the shoulder-joint is four hands, 
or, if you prefer it, four heads. 

The minimum thickness of the leg, as seen from the side, goes six 
times from the sole of the foot to the joint of the knee, and it is equal 
to the space between the corner of the eye and the orifice of the ear, 
and to the maximum thickness of the arm as seen from the side, and 
to that from the lachrymatory duct of the eye to the attachment of the 
hairs. Quaderni vi 12 r. 

Strong nudes will seem muscular and thick. 

Those who are of little strength will be flabby 1 and thin. 

Quaderni vi 14 r. 

The architect Vitruvius states in his work on architecture that the 
measurements of a man are arranged by Nature thus: — that is that 
four fingers make one palm, and four palms make one foot, six palms 
make one cubit, four cubits make once a man's height, and four cubits 
make a pace, and twenty four palms make a man's height, and these 
measurements are in his buildings. 

If you set your legs so far apart as to take a fourteenth part from 
your height, and you open and raise your arms until you touch the 
line of the crown of the head with your middle fingers, you must 
know that the centre of the circle formed by the extremities of the out- 
stretched limbs will be the navel, and the space between the legs will 
form an equilateral triangle. 

The span of a man's outstretched arms is equal to his height. 

From the beginning of the hair to the end of the bottom of the chin 
is the tenth part of a man's height; from the bottom of the chin to the 
crown of the head is the eighth of the man's height; from the top of 
the breast to the crown of the head is the sixth of the man; from the 

1 MS. lacier to so. 

 

2i 4 HUMAN PROPORTIONS 

top of the breast to where the hair commences is the seventh part of 
the whole man; from the nipples to the crown of the head is a fourth 
part of the man. The maximum width of the shoulders is in itself the 
fourth part of a man; from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger 
is the fifth part; from this elbow to the end of the shoulder is the 
eighth part. The complete hand will be the tenth part. The penis 
begins at the centre of the man. The foot is the seventh part of the 
man. From the sole of the foot to just below the knee is the fourth 
part of the man. From below the knee to where the penis begins is 
the fourth part of the man. 

The parts that find themselves between the chin and the nose and 
between the places where the hair and the eyebrows start each of itself 
compares with that of the ear, and is a third of the face. 

Venice Academy r 343