The Anatomical Drawings of Renaissance Man, Leonardo da Vinci

Leonar­do da Vin­ci, the arche­type of the Renais­sance Man, received some for­mal train­ing in the anato­my of the human body. He reg­u­lar­ly dis­sect­ed human corpses and made very detailed draw­ings of mus­cles, ten­dons, the heart and vas­cu­lar sys­tem, inter­nal organs and the human skele­ton. A great num­ber of these draw­ings can now be seen in the largest exhi­bi­tion of Leonar­do da Vinci’s stud­ies of the human body, “Leonar­do da Vin­ci: Anatomist,” at The Queen’s Gallery in Buck­ing­ham Palace, Lon­don. In this video, Senior Cura­tor Mar­tin Clay­ton explores three of these draw­ings and shows that Leonar­do’s med­ical dis­cov­er­ies could have trans­formed the study of anato­my in Europe, had they not lan­guished unpub­lished for cen­turies. Clay­ton has also pub­lished his find­ings in “Nature”. And the BBC has looked into the ques­tion of just how accu­rate Leonar­do’s anatom­i­cal draw­ings real­ly were.

Bonus links:

  • The Guardian has a fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ry about Leonar­do da Vin­ci’s note­book, includ­ing his ‘to-do’ list.
  • Here’s a won­der­ful 360° panoram­ic view of San­ta Maria delle Grazia in Milan with Leonar­do’s “Last Sup­per”.

By pro­fes­sion, Matthias Rasch­er teach­es Eng­lish and His­to­ry at a High School in north­ern Bavaria, Ger­many. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twit­ter.

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