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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

Cats, lions, and a dragon c.1513-18

Pen and ink with wash over black chalk | 27.0 x 21.0 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 912363

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Most of the sketches show cats and lions apparently studied from life, though the dragon shows how strong Leonardo’s powers of visualisation were. Leonardo was fascinated by the flexibility of the feline spine, and around 1513 he considered writing a treatise on ‘the movements of animals with four feet, among which is man, who likewise in his infancy crawls on all fours’.
  • Creator(s)

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    Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519) (artist)

  • bird in a circle. Close to Briquet 12219. (Bird in a circle, Cod. Arun., ff 131-132)

    stamp, ER VII, crowned, in oval: Lugt 901

  • 27.0 x 21.0 cm (sheet of paper)

  • Bequeathed to Francesco Melzi; from whose heirs purchased by Pompeo Leoni, c.1582-90; Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel, by 1630; Probably acquired by Charles II; Royal Collection by 1690

    • Science, Medicine and Technology
      • Agriculture and related techniques
        • Animal husbandry
          • Cats (domestic)
    • Natural Sciences & Mathematics
      • Zoology
        • Animals
          • Mythical creatures
            • Dragons
          • Mammals
            • Carnivorous mammals
              • Felines
                • Lions