Leonardo da Vinci was born on the 15th of April, 1452 and he died in 1480. He spent the majority of his career in Tuscany, Italy. He was the embodiment of the ‘Renaissance ideal of the universal man,’ the first artist to attain complete mastery over all branches of art. He was a painter, sculptor, architect and engineer besides being a scholar in the natural sciences, medicine and philosophy. Second to his art, he was famous for his inventions, few of which were made during his lifetime. He created drawing machines, science and medicine machines and conceptual philosophical machines of all kinds. Although his fame as an inventor is what initially drew me to him as an artist who makes machines, he was also obsessed with perfect porportions and distilling things down to their geometric forms. He created what he called the “Vitruvian Man,” which is what he believed, based on the philosophies of the architect Vitruvius, to be the perfect proportioned human figure in perfect geometric forms.
This ideal (pictured above) is what brought my machine to mind, and in many ways was the inspiration for it. My machine is all about proportion and perfecting proportions in life, of the 3-D, and representing them accurately on a 2-Dimensional surface. The grid helps to guide accurate proportion less affected by visual misinterpretation. Not to mention, since I would ideally want my program to also distill the objects in the digital photograph down to their basic geometric forms it would also be like DaVinci’s practices. A fun side note, since my machine is also conceptual, it too remains an image on a sketchbook and in my mind at the moment, the same way many of DaVinci’s machines were.
Furthermore, even the abstracted image, which would have had little interest to DaVinci I would presume, is still abstracted in a geometric and systematic way. Although I have made it an option that we blow up a block to mess with proportion, we can also just move the blocks to play with compostion and still keep the proportion intact. Also, this is primarily meant to be an aid in direct and realistic representations of the physical world; a Renaissance ambition to be sure.