Everybody knows Leonardo's iconic picture of a man standing in a circle and a square. It's everywhere, deployed on everything from coffee cups and T-shirts to corporate logos and international spacecraft, celebrating subjects as various as the grandeur of art, the beauty of the human form, and the universality of the human spirit. It's the world's most famous cultural icon—yet nobody knows its story. This book brings Vitruvian Man to life by resurrecting the ghost of a largely forgotten Leonardo. It's a fun and surprising tale that ropes together an eclectic cast of characters: ancient Greek sculptors and philosophers; the Roman architect Vitruvius and the emperor Caesar Augustus; early European monks and Muslim astrologers; Hildegard of Bingen and other mystics; medieval cathedral builders; Renaissance anatomists, architects, art theorists, doctors, engineers, and painters —and in the starring role, of course, Leonardo himself.

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