Thursday, February 20, 2014


"For if a man be placed flat on his back, with his hands and feet extended, and a pair of compasses centered at his navel, the fingers and toes of his two hands and feet will touch the circumference of a circle described therefrom. And just as the human body yields a circular outline, so too a square figure may be found from it," wrote 1st c. B.C.E. Roman architect Vitruvius. When Leonardo da Vinci put this idea to paper during the Renaissance, his now famous image of the perfect proportionality of the human body (ABOVE) became known as Vitruvian Man. Symbolically, Vitruvian Man was intended to represent a microcosm of the universe, depicting the human form as the bridge between the terrestrial and the celestial. But it turns out that this "perfect" person is not so perfect after all. Based on the bulge just above the left side of his groin, Hutan Ashrafian, a lecturer of surgery at Imperial College London, has diagnosed Vitruvian Man with an inguinal hernia. Two American doctors concur: Jeffrey Young, director at the University of Virginia’s Trauma Center, and Michael Rosen, director of the Comprehensive Hernia Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Ohio, who comments, If it isn’t a hernia then I really have no idea what it would be.”

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