Vitruvian / Classical Woman

painted on hand-woven organic hemp paper marbleized with dyer’s woad and liquefaction of 24-carat gold. The woman is painted in my own menstrual blood mixed with camelina oil, and the other parts of the design are painted in dyer’s woad, true indigo.

– Mary Jo Magar –
Are there generations of women, now,
Or just one woman regenerated?
The many, time has obliterated;
The one is not who, what, where, when, why, how,
But is and always has been to avow
That while life is being venerated,
Already being is liberated,
Therein the figurehead leading the prow.
Whatever “Eve” was, she is and is not;
Here she is now, every woman, the first,
Beginning, middle, and end of the plot;
The story, the same: we all have been nursed
By “her” whom another “her” first begot.
Still, the world, in her arms, with hunger, thirst. 

The inspiration for this design came, in part, from the works of Tons Brunés who observed that the proportions of the human body according to Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, the 1st-century Roman architect, are incorrect, thereby making Leonardo da Vinci’s renowned drawing of the “Vitruvian Man” also technically incorrect.

According to the ancient Greek system of geometry, of which Vitruvius was a student, the human body, as constructed within a circle, can touch any part of the circle’s circumference without altering the body’s overall proportions; this is not the case in Vitruvius’ interpretation, or subsequently, in da Vinci’s drawing. Also, a square within the circle indicates the height of the human body by marking the line of the body’s shoulders, not by marking the top of the head, which is how Vitruvius, and hence, da Vinci, interpreted the circle’s square at its top line.

I am pleased to state that my “Vitruvian Woman” is actually not Vitruvian but authentically classical in that I have portrayed the correct body proportions according to ancient Egyptian and Greek standards of geometry, which is what Vitruvius and da Vinci both presumably intended to do. Though I replaced an outer square with a gyroscope and extended inner lines of my own accord, the proportions of the body itself are mathematically correct, as delineated. The hexagon “frame” represents the framework of nature by which we all must abide and in which we all exist as part. Commonly observed throughout science is that the molecular structure of most elements of nature incorporates much hexagonal geometry.