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Leonardo Da Vinci: Anatomist
Synopses & Reviews
Leonardo da Vinci was a pioneer in the study of the human body. Intent on exploring and explaining every aspect of anatomy and physiology, he performed over thirty dissections of human cadavers and many more of animals. He is also among the greatest draftsmen ever to have lived, and his studies of skeletons, musculature, and other visible structures remain to this day largely unsurpassed in their lucidity.
In addition to his anatomical drawings, Leonardo meticulously recorded his many findings on the pages of his notebooks with the hope of one day publishing a treatise on anatomy. Among the more than one thousand pages of these notebooks were a number of important discoveries that, had they been published, would have transformed Western understanding of biological sciences. But despite admiration by the likes of Benvenuto Cellini, Giorgio Vasari, and Albrecht Dürer—who made a number of drawings from Leonardo’s anatomical studies—the work was never completed and the drawings remained largely unpublished and little known until around 1900.
Since the seventeenth century, the Royal Library at Windsor Castle has housed the world’s most significant collection of Leonardo’s surviving anatomical studies. Generously illustrated throughout, this volume presents ninety of the finest of these astonishing documents—the largest publication of Leonardo’s anatomical drawings to date—accompanied by an informative discussion of their anatomical content and their significance in Leonardo’s pioneering work.
Leonardo da Vinci was one of the greatest anatomists ever to have lived. He dissected more than thirty human corpses, exploring every aspect of anatomy and physiology, and recorded his findings in drawings of unparalleled beauty and lucidity. Had Leonardo published his researches, he would have transformed European knowledge of anatomy. But his studies remained among his personal papers at his death, and were almost unknown until around 1900.
This book offers 87 of Leonardo's finest and most important anatomical studies, housed in the Print Room at Windsor Castle, with full scientific and art-historical explanations and discussion. Supported by an award-winning ipad app, Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomy, it is an essential work of reference for the Leonardo enthusiast, as well as a unique exploration of the anatomy of the human body itself.
About the Author
Martin Clayton is Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. He has published several books on Leonard da Vinci, including Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Man. Ron Philo is adjunct associate professor in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Table of Contents
The Anatomical Studies of Leonardo da Vinci
Notes to the reader
Early anatomical and proportion studies
Revival: The Battle of Anghiari
The centenarian: Anatomical Manuscript B
Neurology and the voice
The bones and muscles: Anatomical Manuscript A
The reproductive system
Dogs, birds, oxen: The Villa Melzi studies
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