Corpus of the Anatomical Studies

Royal Library at Windsor Castle (Windsor, United Kingdom)

Alternate Titles:

Il Corpus degli Studi Anatomici, Korpus der anatomischen Studien, Leonardo da Vinci - Anatomische Studien

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Alternate Titles

Il Corpus degli Studi Anatomici
Korpus der anatomischen Studien
Leonardo da Vinci - Anatomische Studien

Extent / Format

400 pages / 48.0 x 33.0 cm

Artist / School

Leonardo da Vinci


400 drawings

Short description

Leonardo da Vinci was a passionate researcher of the human body, its structure, and its functionality. This theme pervades his entire body of work, and countless masterful drawings provide insight to this day into this passion of the natural scientist and universal genius: the famous anatomical studies, assembled here into a compendium of 400 drawings from the Royal Library at Windsor Castle.

Facsimile editions available


Corpus of the Anatomical Studies

The study of a hand with its tendons and bones, the state of an unborn fetus in the womb of the mother, the allocation of organs in the human abdomen or a male body with the fascinating play of muscles under the skin: all of that and more were themes that Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) studied and recorded in numerous masterful drawings. These findings fascinated the universal genius from both a naturalistic and artistic perspective, helping him on the other hand by developing the human body in his masterful sculptures and paintings.

An Important Aspect of the Masterwork

A grandiose bundle of anatomical studies can be found in Windsor Castle’s impressive collection of Leonardo drawings. 400 drawings from a 30 year period – from 1483 to 1513 – were chosen for the selection at hand. Arranged chronologically, the sheets allow one to understand the development of the drawings from morphological to physiological studies and simultaneously give a wonderful overview of Leonardo’s graphic works.

The Human Body as a Whole and in Detail

Alongside the famous full-body depictions of a human with a glimpse of the inside of the body, with the routes of the blood vessels, the layout of the organs, the construction of the skeleton, and the interplay of the bones are treated in numerous depictions of individual parts of the body as well – e.g. the head or the foot. Thus, for example, one finds a study sheet of the hand in the bundle, which is covered all over with notes and drawings, which wonderfully emphasizes Leonardo’s passion with this work. With accurate, almost medical precision, the universal genius pursued systematic studies of the human body, which are presented in the collection at hand. The bundle of anatomical studies was appended with preliminary studies of the Virgin of the Rocks and The Last Supper, a few landscapes, caricatures, and other figurative representations.

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