[ Special ] Da Vinci The Anatomist at Queen’s Gallery


What I love London is all the exciting cultural and artistic activities. There are always very fascinating exhibitions in town as well. One of the most memorable ones I’ve seen is the Da Vinci The Anatomist exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery in the Buckingham Palace. This exhibition features unpublished anatomy drawings by Leonardo da Vinci from 500 years ago. These unbelievably detailed and accurate drawings unfortunately was hidden for 400 years and…did not see the lights until the 19th-century. It was said that if Da Vinci had published his anatomist drawings at his time, there would have been a revolution and the history of anatomy would have been changed drastically.

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The collection exhibited was large and comprehensive (the largest exhibition of Da Vinci’s anatomical drawings). Da Vinci sketches were once owned by a family until it was acquired by the English Royalty in 1690 and became part of the Royal Collection. You could also take photos in there.


You could see small holes in this sketch because it was more or less used as  a “template sheet” for Da Vinci to quickly replicate the body sketch (something like a Renaissance photocopier!)

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The fine holes on the paper. The exhibition also compares modern anatomical findings with the sketches Da Vinci made 500 years ago to show that he wasn’t that far off in term so accuracy.


A genius like Da Vinci is an unbelievable rarity. With his background in human sculpturing and architecture, his take on anatomy sketches very well incorporated the 3D and precision aspects of his profession (view of an object from different dimensions).


The level of details was astonishing. His notes were written in his famous mirror-writing.


He was the first to understood the biomechanics and approached the study of human body from a true scientific view (at his time, most of it the beliefs regarding human body were based on biblical texts or speculation).

Drawing of a fetus in a womb. This was not based on real human subject and was quite influenced at the concept of the time that fetus grew like a “plant seed” in the female body.


The later stages of his anatomy project was on hearts. But he never managed to finish his anatomy drawings or compiled the studies into the treatise on anatomy that he intended to do.

You could buy a souvenir guide of his anatomic drawings now if you want (can buy it at the souvenir shop or from various online bookstores).

Leonardo da Vinci the Anatomist Exhibition
Exhibition dates: Friday, 04 May 2012 to Sunday, 07 October 2012
W: http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/exhibitions/leonardo-da-vinci-anatomist
A: The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace (near Victoria or Green Park Tube Station)


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