• Leonardo Studies

Leonardo Studies

01.12.1985

Kim H. Veltman

Review:

Leonardo da Vinci - Anatomical Drawings from the Royal Library Windsor Castle

Kenneth D. Keele ed., (New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1984), Annals of Science, London, Vol. 42, No.4, (July 1985), pp. 189-190.
LEONARDO DA VINCI, Anatomical Drawings from the Royal Library Windsor Castle. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1984. 184 pp. £30.50.

This catalogue of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York from 20 January through 15 April 1984, opens with a foreword by the museum's director, a preface by the royal librarian at Windsor, an introduction by Carlo Pedretti and an essay on Leonardo as anatomist by Dr K. D. Keele. Eight colour plates of skulls, wombs, shoulders, arms, legs and a complete body give some sense of the remarkable sensitivity, precision, beauty and detail of Leonardo's anatomical drawings.

The main body of the catalogue is divided into nine sections: the internal organs (figures 1 and 2), early anatomical studies (3-7), head and brain (8-11), the alimentary and reproductive systems (12-19), the muscles and skeleton (20-33), the heart (34-38), comparative anatomy (39-42), human proportions (43-46) and the nude (47-50). This selection shows the chief topics of Leonardo's anatomical studies, provides a good indication of his diversity of treatment and was originally intended (1977) to convey his development chronologically (p.8). Ironically, Pedretti's more recent studies in chronology, as recorded in Keele's new edition of the WIndsor Corpus, have undermined this sequence (p. 166). The illustrations in the catalogue are numbered 1 to 50. However, many of these include both the recto and verso of a folio such that 80 sheets are in fact shown. Of these there are seven for which ultraviolet photographs are also provided.


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