By Scott Horton
February 21, 9:50 AM
Leonardo's Human Microcosm
Leonardo da Vinci, The Vitruvian Man (1490)
By the ancients man has been called the world in miniature; and certainly this name is well bestowed, because, inasmuch as man is composed of earth, water, air and fire, his body resembles that of the earth; and as man has in him bones the supports and framework of his flesh, the world has its rocks the supports of the earth; as man has in him a pool of blood in which the lungs rise and fall in breathing, so the body of the earth has its ocean tide which likewise rises and falls every six hours, as if the world breathed; as in that pool of blood veins have their origin, which ramify all over the human body, so likewise the ocean sea fills the body of the earth with infinite springs of water. The body of the earth lacks sinews and this is, because the sinews are made expressly for movements and, the world being perpetually stable, no movement takes place, and no movement taking place, muscles are not necessary.--But in all other points they are much alike.
--Leonardo da Vinci, from the Codex Leicester in: The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci, vol. ii, p. 179 (Jean Paul Richter ed. 1883)