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MODERN METHODS OF COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE HUMAN

BODY'S PROPORTIONS
VLADLEN BABCINETCHI

“Gheorghe Asachi” Technical University of Iasi
Department of Textiles-Goods and Industrial Management
vbabcinetchi@tex.tuiasi.ro
STAN MITU

“Gheorghe Asachi” Technical University of Iasi
Department of Textiles-Goods and Industrial Management
smitu@tex.tuiasi.ro

Summary: Beginning with the development of the human society can be observed a high interest of human beings
regarding what they represent in relationship with the nature and the entire universe. This need of knowledge has taken
life today in a series of sciences that have evolved and expanded, having the same concern, or object of study: the
human being. The present writing represents a synthesis of the evolutions of the human body representations,
containing proportion studying methods, useful in various domains of the science and plastic arts. The author’s
contributions view especially the applications of the gold section upon the human body and its’ different divisions.
Key words: synthesis, man,muscles, division, methods, analysis

1. Introduction
2. Anthropometrical data regarding different parts of the human body
2.1.Comparative data concerning the male and the female body
3. Modern analysis methods of the proportions of the human body
4. Conclusions
5. References

1.Introduction
Beginning with the development of the human society can be observed a high
interest of human beings regarding what they represent in relationship with the nature and
the entire universe. This need of knowledge has taken life today in a series of sciences
that have evolved and expanded, having the same concern, or object of study: the human
being. Therefore, the contemporaneous human being, representing the expression of the

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antic civilizations, and also knowing them, having at his disposal all the means of
information provided by the current environment and level of civilization, can perceive
himself on the one hand as a part of the universe , and on the other hand, as a starting
point of the universe. In time, the studies that have been conducted on the human body
and the human being have provided arguments for both sides. The present writing
represents a synthesis of the evolutions of the human body representations, containing
proportion studying methods, useful in various domains of the science and plastic arts.
2.Anthropometrical data regarding different parts of the human body
In 1870 appears Adolf Jaques Quetlet’s study – Des proportions du corps humain
[1] , in which the author carries comparative studies regarding body’s dimensions of
Belgian men and antic statues. If the human body is apportioned in 1000 units, then will
be achieved the mean values as follows:
Head’s height
The distance between the
collar bone and the nipples
The distance between the
nipples
The width of the rib
The distance between the
umbilicus and the knees
The distance between the
knees and the soles of the
feet
The length of the sole
The height of the sole
The width of the sole
The distance between the
elbow and the palm of the
hand

Belgian man
135 units
105 units

Antic statue
130 units
105 units

116 units

138 units

176 units
318 units

188 units
328 units

280 units

279 units

154 units
51 units
57 units
145 units

149 units
48 units
54 units
148 units

From the analysis of this chart we can tell that the height of the head in the antic
statues is shorter, and the positioning of the nipples is the same as at the modern man; the
distance between the nipples, the width of the rib and of the shoulders is bigger (the last
one being the equivalent with the double of the distance between the nipples), on the
other hand the width of the basin is smaller, the umbilicus is situated a little bit higher ,
and the hands and the feet are a lot longer. Furthermore, the soles of the feet are smaller
in the antic sculptures than in the Belgian men. Still, these differences are not very
significant, fact which could lead to the conclusion that the proportions of the antic
statues are very close to those of the modern man. Also, it is well known that the

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achieving of accurate anthropometrical data is very difficult, almost impossible, because
the measurement instruments are applied on the surface of the human body, which is in
fact a blend of volumes, concavities and curves, the interfusions being very hard to
observe. These difficulties can be observed in the differences between the proportions
studies of Audran, Zeising, Quetlet, carried on the statue of Apollo of Efes. Analyzing and
comparing the dimensions that came out by studying the statues of Apollo, Venus,
Hercules, Antinoe can be concluded:
- the height of the head represents 12,5% from the body’s height ( eight heads), at
Hercules being 12%, the width of the head representing almost 11% of the body’s
height, the width of the nose is equal with the distance between the eyes or the eye’s
width, which is almost 2% of the body’s height, and the mouth’s is 2,5%. The height
of the soles of the feet is equal to the length of the palm of the hand, almost 10% of
the body’s height. The length of the sole is approximately 14% which is the seventh
part of the human body, and the height of the umbilicus is positioned in the gold
section of the body’s height.
- the medium height of a man’s body which is in average 168-180 cm that
corresponds to the rule of 7.5 – 8 heights of the head, being equal with 4 heights
of the rib or the distance between the tips of the fingers when the arms are spread
horizontally( at young people these proportions are achieved near the age of 18).
The head of a grown-up man is 22.5 cm high and of a new born child is 12 cm.
The new born baby has the height of the head included four times in the height of
the body, the three year old baby five times, and the seven year old child 6. At
shorter men, women and children between 7 and 14 years old is established the
proportion of 6.5 – 7 heights of the head. At the grown up man the height of the
head is correspondent to the 13th part of the height of the body, being equal with
the distance between the nipples and with the half of the distance situated between
the extremes of the deltoid muscles. The width of the head at a new born baby is
equal with the distance between the shoulders and of the basin, at a grown up, is
equal with the half of these. The height of the head (seen from the front) is
divided in four almost equal sides, each part being the correspondent of the
distance between the chin and the base of the nose, the height of the nose, of the
forehead and of the part of the head covered with hair. The distance between the
chin and the base of the nose is slightly higher, and the one between the forehead
to the tip of the head is slightly shorter. Also, the height of the head can be divided
in seven equal parts considering as a guiding mark the distance that coincides to
the part covered with hair. Then will be obtained the following proportions: 2/7 the height of the forehead, 2/7 the height of the nose and 2/7 the distance from the
chin to the base of the nose. The imaginary horizontal line that corresponds to the
line of the eyes, divides the height of the head of a grown up man into two equal
parts, the line of the eyebrows being the gold section of the face’s height. The
distance between the eyes is the same with the width of the eye, representing 1/8
from the face’s height, and the ear ( seen from the side) represents the distance
between the base of the nose and the eyebrows (other authors say the eyes’ line).
At the new born children the cervix represents approximately 2% from the height
of the body, at a grown up is 3/8 from the head’s height and half of the face’s
height, if we consider the length of the cervix the distance from the chin and the

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collar bone. Liharzik considers that the collar bone corresponds to the length of
the palm, of the shoulder blade, and to the between the shoulder blades when the
arms are resting. At children under 5 years old, the width of the shoulders
represents approximately 1/5 from the body’s length, at grown ups it is ¼ of the
body’s length, also being equal with the double of the distance between the
nipples(according to Schadow), or the double of the head’s height (according to
Fritsch). The palm is 6/7 – 7/8 of the head’s height, and it is equal to the length of
the collar bone, of the face, and with 4/5 or ¾ of the sole’s length. The breadth of
the palm is equal to half of its’ length and the length of the middle finger. Each
finger, except the thumb, is divided in three fragments representing 5/10, 3/10 and
2/10 of its’ length. The sole of a grown up man is the same with the length of the
neck and half the height of his face. The width of the sole is equal with the
distance between the superior base of the nose and the line of the lips, its’ length
being the equivalent of two lengths of the face without the forehead, 8/7 of the
head’s height, 4/3 of the palm’s length. At a new born child the sole of the foot
represents 2/3 of the head’s height and at the 10 year old child it is equal with the
height of the head. According to Schadow and Fritsch and also taking into
consideration the numerous antic sculptures, the base of the foot represents the
height of the head. The comparison of several proportions systems has the benefit
of forming a general image concerning the representation of the human body, the
construction of the figure and the changes of the dimensions according the
personal vision of each artist, being the expression of his freedom and also of his
responsibility. It is recommended that the dimensions of the head and of the rib
cage should not be altered, in order to avoid a ill image or an inappropriate
development of the body. Likewise, are permitted to be applied minimal
modifications to the proportion between the dimensions of the superior and
inferior parts of the human body, to avoid caricaturing the image. It is considered
necessary to respect the proportion between the dimensions of the face area, it is
not recommended to shrink down the dimensions of the forehead; on the other
hand, the dimensions of the nose can be modified and also the lips and the chin,
which are elements that make any portrait/figure unique. By correctly
proportioning head’s height towards the body’s height, are avoided mistakes
regarding the representation of the human body. It is also recommended not to
flatten the rib case as well as not tightening the waist at women. A sine qua non
circumstance of the beauty of the human body is to position correctly all the
elements that form the body, avoiding over curbing the spine or flattening the
soles of the feet, because our esthetic sense is satisfied by a harmonious
interweaving of all the body’s features. The numerous studies that have been
conducted over the years show that the modern man is not that different from his
ancestors, and the representations of the various artists only differ in reproducing
the beauty or the graphical ness of the face.
2.1.1.Comparative data concerning the male and the female body

The male body in comparison with the female body is taller, having a stronger
conformation with a more obvious line of the muscles. Also, the head is bigger, with a
taller and wider forehead, with a significant bone structure of the face and stronger nose
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and ears. The neck is thicker; the rib case is wider, especially in the inferior part, and
more flattened; the nipples are more distant. The abdomen is short; the thighs’ width
being smaller than the one of the shoulders, but also overcoming a little bit the dimension
of the rib case. The pelvis is tight and high. The torso can be framed in a trapezium, the
big base being situated in the superior side of the body. The legs and the hands are
considerably longer, the wrist being under the imaginary center of the body when the
arms are pointed towards the ground; the forefinger is longer than the ring finger.
Fig. 1 -The ‘8 heads’ proportion at men and the ‘7.5 heads’ proportion at women.

Y,y1 – the gold section. M, m1 – marks the half
of the body
In comparison with the male body, the female body is smaller, the bones are thinner
and the shape of the shoulders, abdomen and of the butt are more curved. The head, in the
cranial area as well as in the facial area, is not as pronounced as in men. The nose and the
mouth are smaller. The neck is thinner and due to a certain inclination of the shoulders,
seems to be longer. The rib case at women is shorter and narrower (in the inferior part, the
superior one being wider than at the male body). The nipples are positioned lower, and
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the distance between them is smaller. The abdomen seems longer due to an insignificant
height of the basin and of a shorter rib case. The umbilicus is situated lower. The width of
the thighs usually overcomes the width of the shoulders; the torso can be framed in a
trapezium shape with the big base in the inferior part of the body. The basin is broad and
slightly higher, the legs are shorter, and the center of the body is situated a little bit upper
in comparison with the male body. The forefinger is shorter than the ring finger and the
positioning of the body is slightly towards the front.
3.Modern analysis methods of the human body’s proportions
Fig. 2. -Applications of the gold section concerning the head seen in the profile and
front
y, y1,y2, y3, y4,
y5, y6, y7 – the
gold section

Fig. 3 -The proportions of the face seen from the front
AC/CB – the gold
proportion
A1C1/C1B1 – the gold
proportion
X – the eye’s length
Y – the nose’s length

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Fig. 4 -comparative study regarding the bone structure of the hand and of the sole
AB = BC
A1B1= B1C1
Xx1/x1x2 –the gold proportion
Yy1/y1y2- the gold proportion
B1C1=B1A1=y1y2-x1x2

Fig. 5 -Body’s proportions with the arms opened

1 - the circle’s circumference
formed by the hands rotation
2 – the circle’s circumference
with the center situated in the
neck area
yz – Le’Corbusier’s modular

1. Conclusions
The present paper depicts itself as a synthesis of the evolution of studies regarding
the human body, especially those from the last period of the 19 th century and the
beginning of the 20th century; it also contains comparative proportion studies realized in a

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personal manner, developed from the studies already existing in the specialized literature.
The author’s contributions are concerning the applications of the gold section on the
human body and its’ different parts.
4 . References
[1]- Adolf Jaques Quetlet- “Des proportions du corps humain” (1870)
[2]- Liharzik –“Uber das Quadrat , die Grundlage aller Proportionalitat in der Natur und das Quadrat aus
Zahl 7 , die Uridee des menschlichen Korpers” (1865)
[3]- Fritsch – “Der Gestalt des Menschenf Kunstler und Anatomen , dargestellt” (1899)
[4]- P.I.Karuzin- “About the dimensions, height and the proportions of the human body” (1921)

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