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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

Recto: The skeleton. Verso: The muscles of the face and arm, and the nerves and veins of the hand c.1510-11

RCIN 919012

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The two studies of the hand show the paths of the nerves and arteries, continuing the sequence begun on the sheet to the left. The studies of the facial muscles are impressively accurate – the superficial muscles are very difficult to dissect as they may originate on and/or insert into other soft tissue, but every structure depicted here is identifiable. This is the most complete representation of a skeleton in the whole of Leonardo’s surviving work. The articulated bones are shown in perfect front, side and rear views, in the manner of the elevations of a building in an architectural drawing. The curvature of the spine and the oblique rib placement are well captured, and the drawing at lower right shows the correct tilt of the pelvic girdle.