, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 593-594
Date: 08 Jul 2011

Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man: a renaissance for inguinal hernias

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The drawing of the Vitruvian Man by the famed renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci in the late fifteenth century (circa 1487) is considered to be one of the world’s greatest works of art. It is da Vinci’s representation of ideal human proportions described by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius in Book III of his treatise De Architectura [13]. As a result, it is generally considered to be a supreme example of the synergy between art and science.

On studying the drawing (Fig. 1), one can observe that the left inguinal region of the Vitruvian Man demonstrates a spherical fullness above his groin that is consistent with the region above and medial to the pubic tubercle. This corresponds to the classical manifestation of an inguinal hernia, and may signify the representation of such a hernia in Leonardo’s depiction of the human form.Fig. 1

Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, circa 1487. Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice

Although the Vitruvian Man is considered to be the perfect anatomical re