Discoveries made by Da Vinci whilst studying human anatomy earned him the informal title of the “Father of Embryology”. Why?
The “Father of Embryology”. An informal title give to Da Vinci due to his unprecedented work on the inner workings of the female body and how a foetus develops in the womb. Da Vinci spent a great part of his life fascinated with the human body, he chose to think of it as the perfect machine from which countless discoveries could be made.
In these times, there were many pages of confusing texts relating to different parts of the human body. Da Vinci however saw a solution to simplifying this by creating quality drawings made by first hand observations to bring an understanding to how the human body functioned. And so he spent many nights in the charnel houses surrounded by hot smoky air filled with the stench of death and horrible rotting corpses, including animals (e.g horses, frogs etc). He dissected these bodies and observed every last muscle, organ, bone, down to the nerves, veins and capillaries in minute detail. From this he produced a truly accurate and beautiful set of drawings that would not compare with any others for centuries to come. In fact it was only when modern day technology arrived with MRI’s, X-Ray’s etc that people really saw how shockingly accurate Da Vinci’s work was. Such intensive work earned him the title of the “Father of Embryology”
SEE THIS VIDEO BELOW
From this video you can see just how deeply Da Vinci examined the human anatomy.
In the pictures on the left, we see the sketchy anatomy of the shoulders and that of the neck. You see the same model, who has been very delicately drawn, rotating in space so that we as the viewer get a full clear view of something that is three dimensional even though the drawings obviously exist only in two dimensions.
And this continues right down into the bottom of the sheet where we can see
the skin has disappeared and underneath laid bare are the muscles & tendons. So that Leonardo’s not just observing how things appear in one static sense before his eyes. He is always thinking about how things exist in reality. He is trying to express the functional side of anatomy.
In this way Leonardo is trying to capture a sense of physical movement using static images. Every pose has been cleverly chosen to best highlight each muscle group. It is interesting to see that he is using movement to further identify, muscle groups or ligaments and how far perhaps the joints will move. It seems quite poetic that he has used movement to describe something anatomical which could have been very dry.
FOR MORE OF DA VINCI’S WORK IN ANATOMY HAVE A LOOK THROUGH THIS BRILLIANT BOOK CREATED BY MARTIN CLAYTON
Where from? Amazon