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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

Recto: The fetus in the womb. Verso: Notes on reproduction, with sketches of a fetus in utero, etc. c.1511

RCIN 919102

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Colour is rare in Leonardo’s anatomical drawings, but in his late embryological studies of the fetus he used red chalk to evoke the coiled potential of the child in the womb. Though Leonardo does seem to have dissected a woman who had died in pregnancy, many of the structures seen here are based on his earlier dissection of a pregnant cow.