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This is one of a pair of paintings (see CWLF 127, 406900) depicting a collector surrounded by his possessions and an physician in his laboratory. Both works consciously perpetuate the tradition of David Teniers, who specialised in alchemists and collector

Objects and paintings illustrating the changing perception and use of medicine

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

Recto: The bones, muscles and tendons of the hand. Verso: The bones of the hand c.1510-11

RCIN 919009

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The complexity and clarity of Leonardo da Vinci’s groundbreaking anatomical drawings demonstrate his remarkable understanding of the human body. Leonardo’s anatomical drawings have a precision not to be seen again until the eighteenth century, and an accuracy that is still admired amongst medics to this day. Leonardo intended to publish his research as an illustrated treatise. The project, unfinished by the time of his death, would have transformed Western understanding of medical and biological sciences.

Here, Leonardo studies the mechanics and structure of a hand – in the lower left of the sheet he illustrates the bones of the hand, before adding the deep muscles of the palm and wrist at lower right, the first layer of tendons at upper left, and a second layer of tendons at upper right.