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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

Recto: Studies of men in action. Verso: Studies of men in action c.1508

RCIN 912644

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This is one of a sequence of sheets containing about a hundred thumbnail sketches, attempting to capture every action of the human body. Elsewhere Leonardo listed ‘the 18 actions of man: repose, movement, running, standing, supported, sitting, leaning, kneeling, lying down, suspended, carrying, being carried, thrusting, pulling, striking, being struck, pressing down and lifting up.’

From the 1480s onwards Leonardo planned to write a treatise on painting, covering all the knowledge that a painter should possess to represent the world accurately.

Text adapted from Leonardo da Vinci: A life in drawing, London, 2018