The Da Vinci Code: Chapter 8

Summary: In the Louvre’s Grand Gallery, Fache’s ultraviolet light reveals a cryptic string of seemingly random numbers and the phrases “O, Draconian devil!” and “Oh, lame saint!” scrawled on the floor. Fache’s light also reveals that Saunière drew a circle on the floor and, before expiring, arranged himself in it in such a way that his spread-eagle corpse resembles Leonardo da Vinci’s famed anatomical study, The Vitruvian Man. Langdon sees the circle around a naked male body as complementing and completing the divine feminine image of the pentacle. He wonders if Saunière’s was “simply echoing some of [his and da Vinci’s] shared frustrations with the modern Church’s demonization of the goddess.”  Fache, however, believes Saunière was trying to accuse his killer. As the two men debate their theories, Collet continues to eavesdrop—and to monitor, via GPS, the tracking device Fache has placed on Langdon. He and Fache are convinced of Langdon’s guilt.

Analysis: Da Vinci’s famous sketch of The Vitruvian Man (completed 1490) is so called because he modeled it after that of ancient Roman architect and writer Vitruvius. “This image provides the perfect example of Leonardos keen interest in proportion. In addition, this picture represents a cornerstone of Leonardos attempts to relate man to nature” (Michael John Gorman, Stanford University, 2002;
clabaugh/history/leonardo.html). For Brown’s purposes, the Vitruvian Man, within a circle, represents “male and female harmony” (p. 49). This interpretation allows Brown to link Leonardo with Saunière’s interest in reclaiming the sacred feminine. This chapter also, in Collet’s musings, provides further characterization of Captain Fache, “the Bull.” Fache is a devout, even zealous Catholic, but is also able to criticize the Church when he feels such criticism is deserved (namely, in consequence of ongoing scandals involving priests who abuse children).