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C. Lance Harding, Ph.D.


By examining various drawings from history, the nature and meaning of the Vitruvian Man, its
geometry, measurements, spiritual and alchemical symbolism, can be accurately comprehended and
understood. Using the original explanation from Vitruvius in (De Architectura, Book III, Chapter I The Planning of Temples), and comparing it with the interpretations of historical drawings,
knowledge of the canonical geometry, harmonic proportions, units of fractional and modular
measurements, and the hidden spiritual and alchemical meanings can be defined and accurately
determined through detailed study. This presentation will reveal the answer to many philosophical
questions and give a better understanding of the Vitruvian Man geometry and measurements
contained within the Square and Circle, as a sign and symbol of the ancient Philosopher's Stone.
The course will include:

Examples of different Vitruvian Man drawings from History

The Vitruvian Man drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and Cesariano
Vitruvian Man Geometry and Measurements
Squared Circle Geometry and the Vitruvian Man
The Man in the Squared Circle and the Desiderian Canon
The Vitruvian Man as the Philosopher's Stone
The Divine Nature and Perfect Stature of the Ideal Canonical Man
In the words of author John Michell, who was one of the world's experts on ancient knowledge and
cosmology, "Man, temple, and Cosmos were therefore seen to be identical, and on this
understanding the entire philosophy and science of the ancient world was founded." The Vitruvian
Man inside of the Square and Circle represents the Divine Temple, the link between Heaven and
Earth, and the Meso-cosm that unites the Microcosm with the Macrocosm of our known Universe.


From the Desiderian Canon
by C. Lance Harding Ph.D.

The Greeks possessed the Ancient Canon

Whether or not, in addition to an innate feeling for beauty and art, the Greeks possessed a scientific
basis for this work, a definite law of order, a canon, not of design, but of proportion. If there be such
a law or canon, we should expect it to pervade the whole of Athenian Art: its poetry, its music, its
vases, its temples, its paintings, its sculpture, and its military and naval architecture. Such a law
would bind these separate manifestations into a unity. It would be the fundamental principle that
would bring and compel conformity to the Hellenic ideal. (Robert W. Gardner, The Parthenon its
Science of Forms, McGrath Publishing Company Washington D.C., page 9, 1973.)

The Role of Number in Art

Peter Lenz, (Father Desiderius) said, concerning the Canon of the Ancients and the role of number
in art, "Hence, I sought to penetrate more deeply into the secrets of the technique of the ancients.
The works of the early Christian and Byzantine artists, as well as those of Giotto, had indeed taught
me that geometry and division are the principle factors in the execution of art, but I found wanting in
those artists the conscious and intelligent application of these indispensable means. In the old

Christian and Byzantine craftsmen the principles of measuring and dividing rest evidently on a very
old and now weak tradition, in following which Giotto had consulted only his own feeling.

The old Greek masters appear, however, to have applied well-defined laws to this system of
measurement and division. What were those laws? A careful investigation of the structure of
plants and especially old Grecian vases then brought me many steps further and, finally, while
studying the forms of vases, I came upon the monumental work of Lepsius on old Egyptian temple
architecture. While reading this volume with the greatest of enthusiasm, it seemed to me that I had
already seen those works of art before. For my innate feeling for number, symmetry, order, and
repose found in them for the first time complete satisfaction, and also a religiosity, as I understood
the term, an astonishing withdrawal of oneself into the depths of one's own soul and a profound selfabsorption in the eternal mysteries.

Before these works, so full of dominating force and touching

seriousness, it seemed to me that the Egyptians possessed the secret of moving the soul of man, of
controlling his savage nature, and of awakening within him a mysterious awe. And in the application
of this secret two means seem to have been employed: first, logic, an inexorable criticism,
penetrating to the depths of all that is of vital necessity; and secondly, the law of symmetry and the
harmony of dimensions. This idea, the harmony of dimensions, brought me to the domain of
music. And now suddenly it became clear to me that, as music in melody and harmony is based
upon relations of numbers, so also the mysterious force of simple numerical proportions
(arithmetically 2:3, 3:4, 4:5, etc., and geometrically, the square roots of 2:3, 3:4, 4:5, etc.) is met with
in the classical temples and sculptures of antiquity. That is in fact, the secret of their beauty.
Now at last I had ascertained what was essential, and when I came to Beuron, it was my dream to
elevate all modern art, and to lead it back, purified and perfected by measurement, from a state of
individual weakness to one of classical beauty. Our modern artists do not, however, appear as yet
to wish to consider the subject of measurement. Number is precisely something divine, and our age
lacks that deep religiosity which is characteristic of primitive peoples. It seems incapable of offering
to the grace of God an open heart. What is the aim of art today? What is its philosophy of the

beautiful? Where is its strength, where is its light?" (From: The Desiderian Canon, Desiderius
Lenz, O.S.B., by Mark Steven Walker and translated by John A. Dahl, copyright 1974 by Mark
Steven Walker, pages 1-3; Original quote from: Dom Willibrord Verkade, O. S. B., Yesterdays of an
Artist Monk, translated by John L. Stoddard, New York, 1930)

The Dispensation of the Fullness of Times

In this the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times we have once again a pure and undefiled religion
revealed and restored, available to all and to every individual.

(See: Ephesians 1:10; Doctrine and Covenants 27:12 -13; Moroni 10:3 - 5; Revelation 19:9-10)
Revealed Truth within each Individual - Each individual human body also contains revealed truth
within itself: For within Man are contained all of the measurements and proportions necessary for

The Geometry of "The Man in the Squared

The best description of "The Man in the Circle and Square" is the original one by Roman Architect
Vitruvius, which may be best known from Leonardo da Vinci's famous drawing. Regarding the
position of the man in the circle and the square, Vitruvius tells us, "Now the navel is naturally the
exact center of the body. For if a man lies on his back with hands and feet outspread, and the

centre of a circle is placed on his navel, his figure and toes will be touched by the circumference.
Also a square will be found described within the figure, in the same way as a round figure is
produced. For if we measure from the sole of the foot to the top of the head, and apply the measure
to the outstretched hands, the breadth will be found equal to the height, just like sites which are
squared by rule." (Vitruvius, On Architecture, Books I - V and VI - X, Translated by F. Granger,
Book III, Chapter I - The Planning of Temples, page 161, Harvard, University Press, Cambridge,
Massachusetts, 1983)

But the title of my drawing is "The Man in the Squared Circle". By

this I refer to the circumference of the circle which is "Squared" to equal the perimeter of the
square. With the navel being the center of the circle and at the "Golden Section" of the height of the
square, the man is placed within the square, his height being equal to the side of the square, which
is also equal to one-fourth of the circumference of the circle. The diameter of the circle is equal to
forty (40) head-fourth units and the side of the square, or the height of the man, is the "Pi"
equivalence of 31.416 head-fourths (10 Pi). This ratio of (40) divided by (10 Pi) or (4/Pi) between
the square and the circle, then becomes the key relationship of the ancient canon, symbolizing the
duo-nature - the spirit (or circle) and the body (the square), which make up the soul of man. (See:
D&C 88:15-16) Hence, all of the unit measurements of the height of the human figure are units
which are based upon the divisions of the circumference of the circle in relation to Pi and also Phi
-"The Golden Section".

Measurements of the Ideal Man

"For without symmetry and proportion no temple can have a regular plan; that is, it must have and
exact proportion worked out after the fashion of the members of a finely shaped human body."
According to Vitruvius, the most important unit to ancient metrology is considered to be the Fathom
of 24 units; all other units are computed as fractions of this fathom.

The length of the fathom is the

distance between the tips of the middle fingers with the arms outstretched, which again is equal to
the side of the square, the man's height. "For nature has so planned the human body that the face
from the chin to the top of the forehead and the roots of the hair is a tenth part; also the palm of the
hand from the center of the wrist to the top of the middle finger is as much; the head from the chin to
the crown an eighth part; from the top of the breast with the bottom of the neck to the roots of the
hair, a sixth part; from the middle of the breast to the crown a fourth part; a third part of the height of
the face is from the bottom of the chin to the bottom of the nostrils; the nose from the bottom of the
nostrils to the line between the brows, as much; from that line to the roots of the hair, the forehead is
given as the third part. The foot is a sixth of the height of the body; the cubit a quarter, the breast
also a quarter. The other limbs also have their own proportionate measurements. And by using
these painters and famous sculptors have attained great and unbounded distinction"

So Vitruvius says that: A cubit, the distance from the tip of the middle finger to the end of the elbow is
equal to a fourth part, as is the measure from the center of the breast to the crown of the head. The
foot is a sixth part, and the head from chin to crown was an eighth part of a fathom. The "Fathom"

for Vitruvius was equal to 4 Cubits, 6 Feet, 8 Heads, 10 Hand-lengths or Face-heights divided into
30 units, 24 Palms, and 96 Digits or Fingers. The Cubit was 6 Palms and 24 Fingers, and the Foot
was 2/3 of a Cubit, 4 Palms and 16 Fingers.

The Fathom as calculated using

the geometric Desiderian Canon and squared circle geometry is (40 Pi) units divided by the Golden
Ratio cubed or 29.665 head-fourths, (40 Pi/Phi cubed (4.236) = 125.663 / 4.236 = 29.665 headfourth units for a Fathom - often rounded off to 30 head-fourths or 7 _ head-heights).

To be more mathematically accurate, the Cubit would actually be based on the golden proportion, its
exact measurement being equal to the total height of the man (31.416 hf.) divided by the golden
section cubed, or 7.416 head-fourths, equal to _ Fathom of 29.665 head-fourths - 10 Pi / Phi cubed
or the square root of 55. (This can apply to either an Egyptian Royal Cubit of 20.625 inches - large
scale; or an Egyptian Small Cubit of 17.678 inches - 6/7 Royal Cubit - small scale.)
Now, if the man's hand is raised above his head with the elbow even with the top of the head, and
another circle is drawn, with its center at the navel, around the man so that it touches the soles of his

feet and toes and the tip of his middle finger above his head, then: the cubit, from the tip of the
middle finger to the elbow and top of the head is in golden proportion to the distance from the top of
the head to the navel, and this second distance is also in golden proportion to a third distance from
the navel to the soles of the feet, just as in the modular work of Architect Le Corbusier and others.

This second circle then has a diameter of 10 Pi x (root 5 - 1) or 38.832 head-fourths. It is similar to
the one in Leonardo's drawing and the one mentioned by Vitruvius. It corresponds to the "Body"
while the other circle represents the "Spirit"; hence, giving the relationship between the inscribed five
pointed star (the Pentagram) and the body of man. (Quotes from Vitruvius, On Architecture, Book
III, Ch. I, pages 159-167; Information from: Eivind Lorenzen, Technological Studies in Ancient
Metrology, NYT. Nordisk Forlag, Arnold Busck, Copenhagen, 1966, pages 10, 23-24, 34, 38; Le
Corbusier, The Modular 1 & 2, Harvard University Press, 1980, pages 51, 66-67)



Man is the Temple

"We know through Vitruvius, the architect in the times of

(Caesar) Augustus, that the classical ancients had a canon, that is the portrayal of the standard form
of man and through it the knowledge of conformity with the law of the harmonious proportions of this
most exalted work of creation - which knowledge elevated the spirit and nobility of their art so high
that this art, even in our days, has retained the admiration of the world and remained unattainable.
Vitruvius says of this canon: 'Allegedly it was Polyclitus (together with Phydias and Myron, students
of Ayclades, VI Century B.C.) who gathered its rules, portrayed its laws and incorporated them into
his works.'"
Temples built after the Canon of Man - "Vitruvius also reports that the ancients had constructed
their temples according to and out of the measure of man" - "For without symmetry and proportion
no temple can have a regular plan; that is, it must have an exact proportion worked out after the
fashion of the members of a finely-shaped human body." "This formerly so famous canon of the
ancients through which miracles of ideality had been created - for it is older than Polyclitus, its roots
reach back into Egypt, Pythagoras had knowledge of its coming to Greece - was lost completely with
the collapse of paganism. It is even questionable whether Vitruvius knew of it in its entirety."

"Since Giotto's time a number of qualified artists, physiologists, anthropologists of all nations
searched and looked out with great effort for this so wonderful and prolific tool and instrument which
is the foundation as well as the cornerstone of Art. They have searched, but they were unable to
find, "the thing" the canon suiting the old art. Thus it is since Polyclitus, Vitruvius, Leonardo da
Vinci, Durer, Lavater, Carus, Andran, Schadow, Zeising Following these an artist in Rome, our


Senior master (Father Desiderius) himself, did also subject himself to this work and effort in the
sixties of the last century, after he together with others had found Vitruvius' tracks when in the most
painful manner he himself experienced its absolute necessity. Then, after much searching and
questioning it happened on the feast day of St. Joseph of 1872, in Berlin that he had the courage to
start constructing a human likeness through geometry."

"In using this saintly tool, geometry, (or the Seal of Solomon) the human likeness was found with one
half hour. Everything was waiting and already prepared, it had only to be picked and correctly
arranged." "The Beuron Canon bears the mark of simplicity, clarity, conformity with the law and
inner urgency. Applied it lends to the human form the stamp of authority, of majesty and tranquility,
of purity and holiness.


"The Beuron Canon grows organically out of the combination and penetration of three basic forms:
Circle, Square, and Regular Triangle. There is no doubt that these three are the rudimentary arch
forms of the creation, (symbolizing Form, Divide, and Beautify - the process of creation), and that all
the endless variations in nature have originated in and may be reduced to them. These forms being
prime cause, prime source, sum total and prime core of the total world form, prove themselves
according to the Beuron Canon to be the constructive elements of the corporal nature of man. Also
therein lies another proof for the accuracy of the canon."


Let us look at the "Double Triangle of Polyclitus", which is contained inside the Seal of Solomon or
six-pointed Star of David. "It re-occurs again and again throughout the whole body in many reduced
or enlarged variations always in its same proportion: arithmetically 1 : 2 equals geometrically root 1 :
root 4, equals (root 3 : root 12). Father Desiderius says it is just as the master key, because it
carries within it all the measures which are needed to construct man: V1, V2, V3, V4, V5, V6, and
V8. Root five which brings in the most noble conformity of law, in the image of the woman in the
"Golden Section", is hidden therein."


"According to theology, all material beings are distant images of the divine being, be it as individuals
or within their organized totality. If this is true for all, it's also true in a special measure for the arch
forms and arch figures of the visible creation. The circle with the cross and the triangle, especially
have thus already long been considered a symbol of the Godhead or of the three-in-one God.
According to the Canon these emblems of the three-in-one God (Godhead) also characterize the
image of man in his visible appearance." (Quotes: Desiderius Lenz O.S.B., The Desiderian Canon,
by Mark S. Walker, translated by John A. Dahl, copyright 1974, The Canon, its rediscovery and
construction, pages 1-10)


So the ancients had taken the measure of man, the canon, for their temple buildings; such as, the
most well known, the Great Pyramid in Egypt and the Parthenon in Greece. This was true also of
the temple of old Jerusalem (Solomon's Temple) and the later Christian temples and cathedrals; as
well as the measure of the New Jerusalem which should come down out of heaven. (See:
Revelation 21 and Ether 13:3-12) "In most ancient world religions - Greek, Roman, Oriental,
Phoenician, Hebrew - "The Temple"



We will penetrate into the very sacred

mysteries of the Canons of Human
These secrets were revealed during the initiatory experiences in the halls and temples of the ancient
mystery traditions. But it was absolutely forbidden (on penalty of death) to reveal these tremendous
revelations to the un-initiate. Having trained with the best sacred geometers in the world, studied the
ancient traditions, and undergone our own inner revelations, we shall weave together what we know
of these ancient mystery schools, and the deep insights and epiphanies engendered into the
SECRET MYSTERIES OF NUMBER. And because "the whole Universe is enfolded into each part,"


as David Bohm used to say, it follows that understanding the human canon allows one to know the
Universal Canon.
This is one Workshop you will not want to miss!

The object of a canon of human (or animal) proportions is to establish an ideal of a beautiful body
whether in nature or in artistic reproduction. The aesthetic assumption implicit in the use of such
canons in classical Antiquity, diametrically opposed to the aesthetic outlook of the 20th/21st
centuries, is that by exactly reproducing the proportions of a beautiful living body and transferring
them to stone or bronze (with some compensation in certain cases for distortions of optical
perspective) the artist will produce a beautiful work of art. This assumption is present even in Isaiah
(44: 13): 'The carpenter stretcheth out his rule; he marketh it [the image] out with a line; he fitteth it
with planes and he marketh it out with the compass, and marketh it after the figure of a man
according to the beauty of a man.'
Vitruvian Man : Leonardo da Vinci
Vitruvian Man is a famous drawing with accompanying notes by Leonardo Da Vinci made around the
year 1490 in one his journals . It depicts a naked male figure in two super imposed positions with his
arms apart and simultaneously circumscribed in a circle and square . The drawing and text are
sometimes called the Canon o f Proportions .
The drawing is in pen ink and water color over metal point and measures 34 . 3 x 2 4 . 5cm. It is
currently part of the collection of the Gallerie Dell'Accademia Venice According to leonardos notes in
the accompanying text it was made a study of the proportions of the (male) human body as
described in a treatise by the Ancient Roman Architect Vitruvius, who wrote that in the human body.

A palm is the width of four fingers A foot is the width of four palms A cubit is the width of six palms A
mans height is four cubits (thus 24 palms) A pace is four cubits The distance from the hairline of the
bottom of the chin is one-tenth of a man's height. The distance from the hairline to the breast bone is
one-seventh a mans height The distance of the head to the nipples is one-fourth a mans height.
The maximum width of the shoulder is one-fourth of a man. The distance of the elbow to the tip of
the hand is one-fifth of a mans height. The distance from the elbow to the armpit one-eighth of a
mans height. The length of the hand is one-tenth of a mans height. The distance from the bottom of
the chin to the nose is one third of the length of the face. The length of the ear is one-third of the
length of the face.
The rediscovery of the mathematical proportions of the human body in the 15th century by Da Vinci
and of others is considered one of the great achievements leading to the italian renaissance. The
drawing itself is often used as an implied symbol of the essential symmetry of the human body, and
by extension, to the universe as a whole, whether by mathematical order of intelligent design, or
both. It may be noticed by examining the drawing that the combination of arm and leg positions
actually creates four different poses. the pose with in the arms straight out the feet together rises to
be circumscribed in the imposed square. On the other hand the spread eagle pose is seen to
circumscribed in the superimposed circle
This illustrates the principle that in the shift between the two poses, the apparent centre of the figure
seems to move an, but in reality. The navel of the figure, which is the true center of gravity, remains
motionless. Vitruvius, the architect, says in this work on architecture at the measurements of the
human body are as follow that is that 4 fingers made 1 palm, and 4 palms make 1 foot, 6 palms
make 1 cubit, 4 cubits make a mans height. and a mans height is a pace. The length of a mans out
spread arms is equal to his height. From the roots of his hair to the bottom of his chin in the tenth :
from the bottom of the chin to the top off the head is one eighth of his top of the breast to the roots of
the hair will be the part of the whole man. From the nipples to the top of the head will be the fourth
part of man. The greatest width of the shoulders contains itself the fourth part of man, From the
elbow to the tip of the hand will be the fifth part of a man, and from the elbow to the angle of the arm
pit will be the eighth part of man. the whole hand will be the tenth part of the man. The distance from
the bottom of the chin to the nose and from the roots of the hair of the eyebrow is in each case the
same and like the ear and third of the face.
-Text From. The Note Books of Leonardo da vinci vol. 1 ( of a volume sume set in paperback) pp.
182 - 3, Dover, ISBN 0-486-22572-0 Leonardo's Vitruvian Man
We know very little about Leonardos apprenticeship in Verrocchio's workshop. but the short account
provided by Vasari Co n affirms that included architectural and technological design, according to a
concept that was being revived on the model of Vitruvius as proposed by Albert (Pedretti 14) Having
had access to albert and Vitruvius treatises it is no surprise that leonardo produced his own version
of the Vitruvian man in his note books. This rendering of the vitruvian man, completed in 1490 is a
fundamentally different that other in two ways. The and square image overlaid on top of each other
from one image . a key adjustment was made that others had not done and thus were forced to
make disproportionate appendage.
Leonardos famous drawings of the Vitruvian Proportions of a mans body first and inscribed in a
square and then with feet and arms out spread inscribed in a circle provides an excellent early
example of the way in which his studies of proportion fuse artistic and scientific objectives. It is
Leonardo, not Vitruvius, who points south at if you open the so as to reduce the by fourth and raise
the arms so that your middle fingers touch the line through top of the head, know that the center of
the extremities of out spread limbs will be the umbilicus, and the space between the legs will make
an equilateral triangle. (Accademia Venice). here he provides of his simple illustrations of shifting
center of magnitude with corresponding change of ventreoformalgravity. The remains passing


through the central line from the pit of the throat the the umbilicus and pubis. between the legs.
Leonardo repeatedly distinguishes the set wo different centres of a body ie the centers of magnitude
gravidity .
When associated with ideas of beauty proportion usually refers to a harmonic relationship among the
parts and between any part and the whole of an object, such a building or a body. It has often been
linked with the notion of cosmic harmony. Thus when Leonardo wrote (Trattato 32) that the beauty of
beautiful face consistent with divine proportionality in the composition of its member,he was thinking
in terms of universal harmony of which proportioning particular things is intellectually appreciable
reflection. THis sort of view was general; though not unopposed or alone in the field, until it gave
way to more subjective conception in the 17th and 18th centuries. Thus Pot in us for example said
that Practically everybody asserts that visible beauty is produced by symmetry of the parts towards
each other towards the whole (Enneads, 1.6) he himself, however , refutes his view on the ground
that if beauty consis in the proportion of the parts, the parts of beautiful object can not them
themselves be beautiful, and this he is not prepared to accept.Further more he argues that the idea
of proportion cannot be extended to moral and intellectual beauty. )Summateolgiae). And the cosmic
ortheological extension given to the mathematical idea of proportion is evident in the following
scholastic definition of the trinity as Three Persons coordinate in a marvellous harmony, the son
being the image of the Father and the Holy ghost the link between them. (ulrich Engelbert, De
Alberti, who believed that beauty depended on rational order, never the less admitted that There are
some who say that men are guided by a variety of opinions in the judgement of beauty and that in
the form of structure must vary according to every mans particular taste. Drer, who worked out more
systems of proportion than any other great artist, tells how in his youth he heard of a canon of ideal
human proportions from jacpode , Barbarian from this Vitruvius (1st Century BC) set himself to work
out the ideal canon.


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