full transcript

## Unscramble the Blue Letters

This image of the Vitruvian Man, taken from Leonardo's sketches, has become one of the most recognizable sbolyms of the Renaissance. But why? It's a spilme pen and ink drawing, right? Wrong! Let's start to answer this question with a math problem. I know how to calculate the area of a circle. I take the value for pi and multiply it by the radius squared. I also know how to take the area of a square. I multiply the base by itself. But how can I take the area of a circle and create a square with an equal area? This is a problem often caleld "squaring a circle" that was first propseod in the ancient wolrd. And like many ieads of the acnenit world, it was given new life during the Renaissance. As it turns out, this problem is impossible to sovle because of the nratue of pi, but that's another story. Leonardo's stkech, which is influenced by the wnritgis of the Roman architect, Vitruvius, places a man firmly at the center of a circle and a square. Vitruvius claimed the navel is the center of the human body and that if one takes a compass and places the fixed pniot on the navel, a circle can be drawn perfectly around the body. aioandldtliy, Vitruvius recognized that arm span and height have a nearly perfect correspondence in the human body, thus placing the body peferlcty inside a square as well. Leonardo used the ideas of Vitruvius to solve the problem of squaring a circle metaphorically using mankind as the area for both shapes. loandreo wasn't just thinking about Vitruvius, though. There was an intellectual movement in Italy at the time called Neoplatonism. This momeevnt took an old concept from the 4th century developed by ptalo and Aristotle, called "The graet Chain of Being." This belief holds that the universe has a hrarchiey resembling a chain, and that chain starts at the top with God, then tvrelas down through the angels, planets, stars, and all lmirffoes before ending with demons and devils. Early in this philosophic movement, it was thought that mankind's place in this chain was exactly in the ceetnr. Because haumns have a mortal body accompanied by an imtamorl soul, we divide the universe nilcey in half. Around the time Leonardo sketched the vuiitravn Man, however, a Neoplatonist named Pico Della Mirandola had a different idea. He pried mankind off the chain and claimed that humans have a unique ability to take any position they want. Pico claimed that God desired a being capable of cdimenerphnog the beautiful and complicated universe he had created. This led to the creation of mankind, which he placed at the center of the universe with the ability to take whatever form he pleases. Mankind, according to Pico, could crawl down the chain and behave like an animal or cwral up the chain and behave like a god, it's our cchoie. Looking back at the sketch, we can see that by changing the position of the man, he can fill the irlenibrccaole areas of a circle and a sauqre. If geometry is the language the universe is wtiretn in, then this sketch seems to say we can eixst within all its elements. Mankind can fill whatever shape he pleases geometrically and philosophically as well. In this one sketch, Leonardo was able to combine the mathematics, reiiolgn, philosophy, architecture, and artistic skill of his age. No wonder it has become such an icon for the einrte time period.

## Open Cloze

This image of the Vitruvian Man, taken from Leonardo's sketches, has become one of the most recognizable _______ of the Renaissance. But why? It's a ______ pen and ink drawing, right? Wrong! Let's start to answer this question with a math problem. I know how to calculate the area of a circle. I take the value for pi and multiply it by the radius squared. I also know how to take the area of a square. I multiply the base by itself. But how can I take the area of a circle and create a square with an equal area? This is a problem often ______ "squaring a circle" that was first ________ in the ancient _____. And like many _____ of the _______ world, it was given new life during the Renaissance. As it turns out, this problem is impossible to _____ because of the ______ of pi, but that's another story. Leonardo's ______, which is influenced by the ________ of the Roman architect, Vitruvius, places a man firmly at the center of a circle and a square. Vitruvius claimed the navel is the center of the human body and that if one takes a compass and places the fixed _____ on the navel, a circle can be drawn perfectly around the body. ____________, Vitruvius recognized that arm span and height have a nearly perfect correspondence in the human body, thus placing the body _________ inside a square as well. Leonardo used the ideas of Vitruvius to solve the problem of squaring a circle metaphorically using mankind as the area for both shapes. ________ wasn't just thinking about Vitruvius, though. There was an intellectual movement in Italy at the time called Neoplatonism. This ________ took an old concept from the 4th century developed by _____ and Aristotle, called "The _____ Chain of Being." This belief holds that the universe has a _________ resembling a chain, and that chain starts at the top with God, then _______ down through the angels, planets, stars, and all _________ before ending with demons and devils. Early in this philosophic movement, it was thought that mankind's place in this chain was exactly in the ______. Because ______ have a mortal body accompanied by an ________ soul, we divide the universe ______ in half. Around the time Leonardo sketched the _________ Man, however, a Neoplatonist named Pico Della Mirandola had a different idea. He pried mankind off the chain and claimed that humans have a unique ability to take any position they want. Pico claimed that God desired a being capable of _____________ the beautiful and complicated universe he had created. This led to the creation of mankind, which he placed at the center of the universe with the ability to take whatever form he pleases. Mankind, according to Pico, could crawl down the chain and behave like an animal or _____ up the chain and behave like a god, it's our ______. Looking back at the sketch, we can see that by changing the position of the man, he can fill the ______________ areas of a circle and a ______. If geometry is the language the universe is _______ in, then this sketch seems to say we can _____ within all its elements. Mankind can fill whatever shape he pleases geometrically and philosophically as well. In this one sketch, Leonardo was able to combine the mathematics, ________, philosophy, architecture, and artistic skill of his age. No wonder it has become such an icon for the ______ time period.

## Solution

1. sketch
2. movement
3. lifeforms
4. exist
5. ancient
6. point
8. solve
9. leonardo
10. nature
11. writings
12. comprehending
13. square
14. nicely
15. entire
16. proposed
17. crawl
18. immortal
19. religion
20. travels
21. simple
22. plato
23. perfectly
24. irreconcilable
25. ideas
26. great
27. humans
28. center
29. vitruvian
30. called
31. symbols
32. hierarchy
33. world
34. choice
35. written

## Original Text

This image of the Vitruvian Man, taken from Leonardo's sketches, has become one of the most recognizable symbols of the Renaissance. But why? It's a simple pen and ink drawing, right? Wrong! Let's start to answer this question with a math problem. I know how to calculate the area of a circle. I take the value for pi and multiply it by the radius squared. I also know how to take the area of a square. I multiply the base by itself. But how can I take the area of a circle and create a square with an equal area? This is a problem often called "squaring a circle" that was first proposed in the ancient world. And like many ideas of the ancient world, it was given new life during the Renaissance. As it turns out, this problem is impossible to solve because of the nature of pi, but that's another story. Leonardo's sketch, which is influenced by the writings of the Roman architect, Vitruvius, places a man firmly at the center of a circle and a square. Vitruvius claimed the navel is the center of the human body and that if one takes a compass and places the fixed point on the navel, a circle can be drawn perfectly around the body. Additionally, Vitruvius recognized that arm span and height have a nearly perfect correspondence in the human body, thus placing the body perfectly inside a square as well. Leonardo used the ideas of Vitruvius to solve the problem of squaring a circle metaphorically using mankind as the area for both shapes. Leonardo wasn't just thinking about Vitruvius, though. There was an intellectual movement in Italy at the time called Neoplatonism. This movement took an old concept from the 4th century developed by Plato and Aristotle, called "The Great Chain of Being." This belief holds that the universe has a hierarchy resembling a chain, and that chain starts at the top with God, then travels down through the angels, planets, stars, and all lifeforms before ending with demons and devils. Early in this philosophic movement, it was thought that mankind's place in this chain was exactly in the center. Because humans have a mortal body accompanied by an immortal soul, we divide the universe nicely in half. Around the time Leonardo sketched the Vitruvian Man, however, a Neoplatonist named Pico Della Mirandola had a different idea. He pried mankind off the chain and claimed that humans have a unique ability to take any position they want. Pico claimed that God desired a being capable of comprehending the beautiful and complicated universe he had created. This led to the creation of mankind, which he placed at the center of the universe with the ability to take whatever form he pleases. Mankind, according to Pico, could crawl down the chain and behave like an animal or crawl up the chain and behave like a god, it's our choice. Looking back at the sketch, we can see that by changing the position of the man, he can fill the irreconcilable areas of a circle and a square. If geometry is the language the universe is written in, then this sketch seems to say we can exist within all its elements. Mankind can fill whatever shape he pleases geometrically and philosophically as well. In this one sketch, Leonardo was able to combine the mathematics, religion, philosophy, architecture, and artistic skill of his age. No wonder it has become such an icon for the entire time period.

## Important Words

1. ability
2. accompanied
4. age
5. ancient
6. angels
7. animal
9. architect
10. architecture
11. area
12. areas
13. aristotle
14. arm
15. artistic
16. base
17. beautiful
18. behave
19. belief
20. body
21. calculate
22. called
23. capable
24. center
25. century
26. chain
27. changing
28. choice
29. circle
30. claimed
31. combine
32. compass
33. complicated
34. comprehending
35. concept
36. correspondence
37. crawl
38. create
39. created
40. creation
41. della
42. demons
43. desired
44. developed
45. devils
46. divide
47. drawing
48. drawn
49. early
50. elements
51. entire
52. equal
53. exist
54. fill
55. firmly
56. fixed
57. form
58. geometrically
59. geometry
60. god
61. great
62. height
63. hierarchy
64. holds
65. human
66. humans
67. icon
68. idea
69. ideas
70. image
71. immortal
72. impossible
73. influenced
74. ink
75. intellectual
76. irreconcilable
77. italy
78. language
79. led
80. leonardo
81. life
82. lifeforms
83. man
84. mankind
85. math
86. mathematics
87. metaphorically
88. mirandola
89. mortal
90. movement
91. multiply
92. named
93. nature
94. navel
95. neoplatonism
96. neoplatonist
97. nicely
98. pen
99. perfect
100. perfectly
101. period
102. philosophic
103. philosophically
104. philosophy
105. pi
106. pico
107. place
108. places
109. placing
110. planets
111. plato
113. point
114. position
115. pried
116. problem
117. proposed
118. question
120. recognizable
121. recognized
122. religion
123. renaissance
124. resembling
125. roman
126. shape
127. shapes
128. simple
129. sketch
130. sketched
131. sketches
132. skill
133. solve
134. soul
135. span
136. square
137. squared
138. squaring
139. stars
140. start
141. starts
142. story
143. symbols
144. takes
145. thinking
146. thought
147. time
148. top
149. travels
150. turns
151. unique
152. universe
153. vitruvian
154. vitruvius
155. world
156. writings
157. written