Does Leonardo da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man" hide a secret algorithm?

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Ángel Gómez FuentesÁngel Gómez Fuentes

Correspondent in Rome

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The new revelation about Leonardo da Vinci It is already defined as revolutionary. It is exceptional, the result of thirty years of reflection and seven years of research. The conclusion is that the "Vitruvian Man" ("Uomo Vitruvian"), a true icon of the genius of the Renaissance – the very famous representation of the ideal proportions of the human body, made by Leonardo da Vinci from the architect's texts of Ancient Rome, Vitruvian – is really the image of the secret algorithm. An earlier algorithm that artists have used from the fourth to the eighth century to "certify" their own works as inspired by the Divine Proportion (the golden number, also called divine proportion and golden reason, in the field of figurative arts and Mathematics indicates the irrational number irrational number 1.6180339887 …).

For five centuries the drawing of «Vitruvian Man» I would have hidden a hoax, that is, not only is it much more than it seems, but it would also have been done to shape the secret of secrets in encrypted or coded mode. The very old arithmetic and geometric formula that the artist associations used and transmitted between them, observing the parameters imposed by the Church, to perform any type of work. This is the study that an art historian has done Roberto Concas, 67, former director of the National Archaeological Museum of Cagliari (Sardinia). It is a fascinating investigation as if it were a novel of intrigue and suspense of Umberto Eco, according to the exclusive news agency ANSA. The work will be explained in two volumes that are published on January 1 and will be dedicated to a great exhibition in Cagliari in May 2020, with a significant title: «The deceit of the Vitruvian Man. The algorithm of divine proportion ».

Two men in the drawing

The first discovery of Concas in Leonardo's drawing in 1490 is that it contains two men in two different ages of life, perhaps even three. This, according to Professor Concas, is verified by looking at it in a mirror so that the real image of the drawing appears, giving a meaning to what until now were considered "errors." He explains it to Ansa: «Everything has started from the questions I asked myself about the Altarpieces of Sardinia. Why, I wondered, does this particular form have three? There were no answers. I have researched for 30 years. Then, at a given moment I find the algorithm that makes me understand which is the central part and which is the lateral one. But that was just the beginning. In 2012, looking at the drawing of the Vitruvian Man, I notice a similar proportion in the line below: two smaller parts, a larger central ».

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Mirror

The art historian Concas acknowledges that it is "exhausting" to explain it, but concludes by clarifying his intuition and surprising discovery. «It was like opening one box after another, each solution opened another three at the same time, a series of cases. I began to understand that the drawing contains two faces. The right eye is of a mature man, the one on the left is of a younger face. Intuition came to me: If Leonardo wrote with the left (the artist was ambidextrous) he learned using the mirror … also here he uses the mirror to reconstruct a complete figure. And the measures have proved me right ».

What does the theory and, rather, the discovery of Professor Concas represent? The director of the museums of Sardinia, Giovanna Damiani, explains to Ansa: «I would define it as a revolutionary, because it is a discovery capable of imposing a new paradigm in the history of art, a canon that has remained unpublished, that does not cancel those that they are habitual for us, but it opens up to new interpretations, perhaps intuited by some art historians, but never until today coded ».

The reason for arm measurements

In short, two men in the same drawing, and with the mirror it is clear, of diverse age, but designed to represent what the mathematician Luca Pacioli, a Franciscan friar, defined as the secret science of the Divine proportion. In Pacioli's book, titled precisely "On the divine proportion" – or golden ratio -, with illustrations by Leonardo da Vinci, published in 1509, it deals with mathematical proportions and their applications to geometry, visual art and architecture. In this regard, Professor Concas gives an example: «The measurements of the arms, which are diverse, come from the concept of a generating number, 225.5 and 180.5. By subtracting or dividing all the exact measurements of the two arms are obtained ».

A rule that should not be missed

Leonardo feared that over time the golden ratio or gold number would be lost – first called "Divine Proportion", at the beginning of the 16th century – "the rule that had been used by architects, writers and poets," according to the Professor Concas “It was used for the first time – he adds – in the Arch of Constantine, in 315-325 AD, the years of the first council of Nicea, the first Christian ecumenical council. But also in the Pieta of Michelangelo and obviously in the Gioconda. After all, they were simple rules, like soccer, 17 simple rules. Then, in its implementation, there are those who are able to mark as Ronaldo. So Rafael also did masterpieces following the rules ».

The algorithm ("the orderly and finite set of operations that allows to find the solution of a problem", as defined by the RAE) since the fourth century, when the Christian religion becomes a state religion, served to spread and defend the guilds or corporations. It was not enough to draw the Virgin, it had to be done according to the secret rules, which in a simplified way could be defined as a "double spiral", which has a very old philosophical meaning. «If Leonardo had revealed that the" Vitruvian Man "contained this secret, they would have taken him to the stake," says Professor Concas. A lost mystery «when the power of the Church ended with Enlightenment and secularism arrived. But if we look around, we find traces of it everywhere, hitherto incomprehensible to us, ”concludes Professor Roberto Concas.

The «Vitruvian Man», preserved in the Gallery of the Academy of Venice since 1822, one of the most attractive works in the great exhibition dedicated to Leonardo, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the death of the so-called «Divine Painter», will be seen from today with more curiosity if possible. In addition to being an absolute masterpiece of culture, the Vitruvian Man still retains secrets and mysteries. Word of Professor Concas: «For now I don't want to add anything else; the mystery does not end here ».

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