Leonardo da Vinci and Anatomy

The Mechanics of Life


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ISBN: 9782370742148 Category:


Leonardo da Vinci and Anatomy: all the power and relevance of this great Renaissance mind.

This exhibition catalogue on Leonardo da Vinci the anatomist highlights the mystery of a thought that was both anchored in its time and, combined with a totally new practice (dissection), leading to a new understanding of the nature of life. Da Vinci was not content with a passive description of the human body; he sought to penetrate the secrets of its functioning by first studying the mechanics of humans (bones, muscles, tendons), then the logic of the senses, and finally all the bodily functions (digestion, respiration, blood circulation, reproduction), which made him to use qualitative reasoning.

Contrary to popular belief, Leonardo did not carry out his dissections in secret, but in complete agreement with the political and religious authorities, until his materialistic ideas came into conflict with the pontifical authorities, particularly with regard to embryology.

The originality of the book is to show how Leonardo’s work as an anatomist and his work as a painter are inseparable. The book thus links a work such as the Last Supper in Milan with the knowledge gathered in the medical field.

The book brings together originals or copies of Leonardo’s sheets with objects (anatomical waxes, facsimiles of dissecting instruments), books studied by the artist, interviews with specialists and animated 3D reconstructions.

Additional information

Weight 1052 g
Dimensions 24.3 x 28 cm
Publisher name Editions Skira Paris
Publication date 20 November 2023
Number of pages 192
Format Paperback / softback
Contributors Text by Dominique Le Nen and Pascal Brioist
Dimensions 24.3 x 28 cm
Weight 1052 g


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Dominique Le Nen is professor at the University of Nantes and orthopedic surgeon.

Pascal Brioist is professor at the University of Tours, historian specialized in Leonardo da Vinci, in la Renaissance and sciences and techniques of the modern era.