The Anatomical Studies of Leonardo Davinci

In: Science

Submitted By coalminecanary
Words 1134
Pages 5
Heidi Novack October 24, 2010
Italian Renaissance: Journal 3

Leonardo's Anatomical Studies

The synthesis of art and science, at the time of Leonardo DaVinci, was not so difficult as modern contemporaries may perceive. In Fritjof Capra's work, “The Science of Leonardo”, he claims “Leonardo insisted again and again that the 'art', or skill, of painting must be supported by the painter's 'science', or sound knowledge of living forms, by his intellectual understanding of their intrinsic nature and underlying principles” (Capra 34). In his notebooks, the main subject is sketches, with notes and a short writing on each. While Leonardo began his dissections for the purpose of art, his study of the human form did not end there. Methods of his analysis include dissection, wax castings, models, and sketches: his subsequent findings are even more diverse. Leonardo was truly a pioneer in anatomical studies.
In order to better understand the body, Leonardo looked at what made up the body, how it moved. The initial purpose of his anatomical studies and dissections was to more accurately depict movement, gestures, and expressions in his paintings (Capka). This led to numerous sketches of human limbs, with skin and without, and through successive layers of musculature. One of his sketches depicts a comparison of a human leg to a horse's leg, both a skeletal sketch and an anatomically correct depiction of each: historically, this is the first account of comparative anatomy. Leonardo based his drawings and findings on systematic observation: “He gained precise knowledge by dissecting more than 30 cadavers – until at last Pope Leo X barred him from the mortuary in Rome” (Hale). Of the dissections, DaVinci focused more on the eye and optical nerves earlier in his life, and later on began to study the full body (Capka 115). Before this, however, DaVinci created wax…...

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