Segments in this Video

Human Inspired Diagrams (03:09)


This film will explore the artistic and scientific meaning in Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man and the double helix image.

Combining Science and Art (02:54)

Learn how da Vinci contributed to the search for knowledge through anatomical and architectural drawings; he was inspired by Roman writer Vitruvius.

Vitruvian Man (03:19)

Da Vinci drew his diagram in the 1480s, inspired by Vitruvius' belief that architecture should be perfectly proportioned. Learn the geometric challenge to fit a body inside a circle and square.

Geometry of Vitruvian Man (02:29)

Da Vinci's ratios come from Vitruvius' belief that human proportions, applied to architecture, would produce perfect buildings. View other Renaissance attempts to fit a body inside a circle and square.

Mathematics of Vitruvian Man (02:42)

Learn how da Vinci shifted the center of the square to harmonize the diagram's geometry. An expert discusses his union of art and science based on Christian ideals of perfection.

Church of the Redeemer (02:13)

Form, function and beauty are the basis of Vitruvius' architecture. Learn how da Vinci's contemporary Andrea Palladio realized this geometric philosophy in Venice.

Vitruvian Man Anatomy (02:08)

Da Vinci was the first artist to carry out a full autopsy. Learn how his famous diagram reflects a geometric interest in the human body.

Vitruvian Man Movement (03:07)

Da Vinci's double pose reflects motion analysis; view a modern animation of his diagram and a 3-D sculpture bringing it to life.

Vitruvian Man in Popular Culture (03:13)

Cartoonist Peter Brookes uses da Vinci's diagram to portray politicians failing to live up to an ideal. The original captures the idea that mathematics underpins both nature and society, and unifies science and art.

DNA Diagram (03:57)

James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA in 1953. Learn how Crick's wife represented for publication—considered the most important biology drawing of the 20th century.

Double Helix Symbol (02:45)

Learn how DNA functions to copy genetic material during reproduction. A trained artist, Odile Crick brought the biological process to life in an iconic diagram that has never been improved upon.

Publishing the DNA Diagram (02:01)

Learn how Odile and Francis Crick collaborated with Watson to prepare the article. The scientific community didn't immediately realize the biological implications of their discovery.

Photo 51 (03:34)

After World War II, scientists struggled to understand DNA function. Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin discovered the double helix structure using x-ray crystallography.

DNA Diagram in the Media (02:03)

"Eye on Research" presented the double helix to the public in 1958. As the genetic field grew, debates developed over human predetermination and the power of scientists in creation.

DNA Diagram and Ethical Issues (02:31)

The double helix became a metaphor for artists comparing scientific questions to Biblical ideas of predetermination.

Commercializing the DNA Diagram (04:53)

View products using the double helix. The scientific icon has become a symbol of life, essence and mystery; learn how a German car company uses it for marketing.

Ubiquitous DNA Diagram (01:23)

Since helping to decipher the genetic process, Odile Crick's double helix image has been adopted in art and commercial advertising.

Credits: Vitruvian Man and DNA: Beauty of Diagrams (00:30)

Credits: Vitruvian Man and DNA: Beauty of Diagrams

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Vitruvian Man and DNA: The Beauty of Diagrams

Part of the Series : The Beauty of Diagrams
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $300.00
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $450.00
3-Year Streaming Price: $300.00



Leonardo da Vinci’s famous diagram of the perfect human body, drawn in the 1480s, defines our species like no other drawing before or since. It is also full of surprises. More recently, the Double Helix represents a scientific breakthrough that has been voted the most significant of the 20th century, more important than penicillin or the first working computer. A BBC Production. A part of the series The Beauty of Diagrams.

Length: 50 minutes

Item#: BVL57434

ISBN: 978-0-81609-333-5

Copyright date: ©2010

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.