The Leonardo da Vinci Life-long achievements award recognizes and individual whole life-long work has significantly contributed to the advancement of space safety and to the mission goals and core values of IAASS. The IAASS Long-life Achievements Award is named after Leonardo da Vinci, the renaissance genius of science, engeneering and art.
The award consist of a bronze plaque reproducing in bas-relief the “Vitruvian Man”. A circle, a square and an emblematic figure of a man in the middle. Who does not know this extraordinary fifteen century drawing of Venetian Academia, known as The Vitruvian Man, by Leonardo da Vinci? In ancient times, a square inscribed in a circle represented the perfect union of divine and creation where at last, result of the first is in perfect harmony with the original thought.
Turning now to the innovative Leonardo reworking of these ancient symbols, it is noted that, unlike all previous figurative tradition – and therein lies the genius of the artist – the square is not perfectly inscribed in the circle, but off-axis and moved downwards, not in a random position but where the precise point of intersection of the diagonals coincides with man’s genitals. Genitals that indicate the physical origin, such as the navel indicated the spiritual.
The non-coincidence of these two points as shown in the drawing is truly unique and its message still relevant today. What does it mean in terms of symbolic non-coincidence?Leonardo as an artist, scientist and researcher in the broad and comprehensive term, could not help being attracted by the problem which concerns man’s relationship with All, and here, in an extreme attempt to “balance the books” by applying the Vitruvian precise calculations, dramatically understands the situation of absurdity in which humanity is experiencing, anticipating, with great ingenuity, the great spiritual crisis that started with the Mannerism, passing through the Existentialism comes to its extreme consequences in the modern era.Leonardo then, tried to pinpoint the position of man in the world and in relation to the divine. He realized that “something” was not commensurable… something had to be reckoned with.
We are at the end of the fifteenth century; the Renaissance, where Leonardo the inheritor of fifteenth-century Florentine whom firmly connected artistic representation with knowledge was convinced that artists should obtain the widest experience and depth of reality. He believed one cannot conceive Scientific Inquiry in opposition or detached from Art, but as a complementary activity in the constant expansion of knowledge to the unveiling of the truth.
The International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety has selected the Vitruvian Man to recognize those special engineers and scientists which through their lifelong dedication to study, knowledge and research have made of Scientific Inquiry an Art centered on the Human Being.
“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.”
Leonardo da Vinci