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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

Recto: The veins of the arm. Verso: Notes on the death of a centenarian c.1508

RCIN 919027

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Leonardo resumed his anatomical studies around 1505. He was now in his fifties, famous and respected across Italy, and he was able to obtain permission to carry out human dissections. In the Winter of 1507 – 8 Leonardo performed a post-mortem dissection of an old man in a hospital in Florence. On this page of his notebook he recorded his findings in his habitual mirror-writing, providing clear descriptions of atherosclerosis, coronary occlusion and cirrhosis of the liver. This is one of the most remarkable documents in the whole history of science, and marks the beginning of five years of intense anatomical investigation.