It charts his development in the understanding of the inner workings of animals and then humans, once his increased reputation gave him access to cadavers. The exhibition does a great job of explaining how Da Vinci had to change his attitudes when he discovered that current teaching was grossly inaccurate – it used to be believed that the brain was made of three bulbous cavities!
Da Vinci may not have always interpreted the functionalities of organs correctly but it was a vast leap on from the medical knowledge at the time which was still reliant on the ancient Greek teachings of Galen and Aristotle. The displaying of modern medical models next to Da Vinci’s drawings show you how accurate he was and that his attention to detail was superb.
As the very definition of a Renaissance man, all of his talents were needed to produce these intricate drawings. His architectural skills were used to ensure that the works were proportionate and his engineering background inspired him to produce exploded views that enable the viewer to see how bones fit together.
Modern medicine would not catch up with Da Vinci until the 19th century and this exhibition is a shining example of how far ahead of his time he was.
Leonardo Da Vinci: Anatomist is on display at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace until 7 October. Tickets are £9.25, concessions available.