Art Review: Leonardo Da Vinci - Anatomist @ Queen's Gallery

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 77 months ago
Art Review: Leonardo Da Vinci - Anatomist @ Queen's Gallery
Studies of the foetus in the womb, The Royal Collection (c) 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Studies of the foetus in the womb, The Royal Collection (c) 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
This photograph is issued to end-user media only. Single use only. Photographs must not be archived or sold on. Supplied to Carmen Bambach, Sept 2010.
Studies of the coronary vessels and valves of the heart, The Royal Collection (c) 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
This photograph is issued to end-user media only. Single use only. Photographs must not be archived or sold on.
The muscles of the shoulder and arm, and the bones of the foot, The Royal Collection (c) 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
This photograph is issued to end-user media only. Single use only. Photographs must not be archived or sold on.
The cardiovascular system and principal organs of a woman, The Royal Collection (c) 2012, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
This photograph is issued to end-user media only. Single use only. Photographs must not be archived or sold on.
A skull sectioned, The Royal Collection (c) 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Shortly after his blockbuster show at the National Gallery, Da Vinci is back. The focus of this exhibition is the wealth of anatomical drawings held in the Queen's Royal Collection.

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.

Last Updated 06 May 2012