Leonardo and his sketches

The 2012 Summer Olympics are set to begin this July in London, England. These games embody raw, human performance set upon the world alter. Properly, The Queens Gallery at Buckingham Palace is presenting their own homage to human endurance per Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomical studies.

From May 4th to October 7th, The Queens Gallery will exhibit the largest collection of da Vinci’s anatomical studies. The detail of these studies ranges from cranial anatomy to peripheral limb musculature. Leonardo da Vinci gathered his observations from first-hand, scientific dissections of the human body. This was counter to Albrecht Dürer, who focused on external anatomical observations.

Leonardo da Vinci intended to publish his collection of studies on the human body. However, time is the enemy of ideas, and da Vinci passed away before seeing his goal succeed. His observations on fluidity in cooperation with the semilunar valves of the heart, represent da Vinci’s genius. Breakthroughs were made by da Vinci, some 400 years ahead of their rediscovery, and intrigues us to think how much more would we know today if da Vinci published his work.

If you find yourself in the British Isles for the Olympic games, swing by The Queens Gallery and see these masterpieces. For those not in England, you can see most of the images on the exhibition site.

See the video below for a preview of the exhibit.

Thanks to elliottingotham for the tip.


  1. I saw 10 of his drawings in the Bristol art gallery. the upper and lower limbs are incredible. As is the fact that much of his work is in chalk, not a medium we consider suitable for such fine detail. and a lot of them, like william blake’s books, are really small. How did they see such things without modern optics? NObody else seemed to notice his handwriting is backwards. the staff member said he was ambidextrous, and could write with both hands at the same time.

    1. Being ambidextrous has its advantages for sure! Artists at the time had a working knowledge of optics, and I do believe they had magnifying glasses. Here is a brief report on the matter


  2. Most art historians believe that since Leonardo was left-handed, writing left to right was messy because the ink just put down would smear as his hand moved across it. Writing in reverse prevented smudging. We know that he used “mirror writing” almost exclusively, except for text that was intended to be read by others.

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