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Anatomy: A Matter of Death and Life at the National Museum of Scotland [Edinburgh]

Recto: six studies of the left foot and ankle, showing the articulation of the bones; two drawings of the leg and foot on a smaller scale; a deep dissection of the right shoulder joint; notes on the drawings. Verso: two studies of the right arm, stretched
Recto: The bones of the foot, and the shoulder. Verso: The veins and muscles of the arm ©

Anatomy: A Matter of Death and Life
2 July – 30 October 2022

The National Museum of Scotland charts 500 years of anatomical exploration and considers the social and medical history surrounding the dissection of human bodies. The exhibition begins with three double-sided sheets of pioneering anatomical studies by Leonardo da Vinci loaned from the Royal Collection.  These detailed studies of the heart, throat, and bones and muscles in the shoulder, chest and feet demonstrate the burgeoning anatomical understanding in early modern Europe gained through dissections. The exhibition continues with an examination of the British Enlightenment, highlighting Edinburgh’s unique position as the UK’s leading centre for medical teaching by the 18th century, and it goes on to explain the changing practices and attitudes around body provision (including the Burke and Hare murders in Edinburgh) in the two centuries that followed.

Other items from the Royal Collection are on long-term loan to the National Museum of Scotland

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Rooms and locations with objects on display