Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)
A bear's foot c.1488-90
Metalpoint with pen and ink and white heightening, on blue-grey prepared paper | 16.1 x 13.7 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 912372
A study of the dissection of the lower leg and foot of a bear, viewed in profile to the left. To the left there is also a slight drawing of the leg.
At the outset of Leonardo’s anatomical investigations he was unable to procure much human material. Many of his dissections were therefore of animals, including bears, dogs, monkeys, frogs and pigs. Bears lived wild and were hunted in Italy in the fifteenth century. They were also kept in captivity by street entertainers and for baiting. Here Leonardo concentrates on the tendons of the foot and their attachments to the bones.
ProvenanceBequeathed to Francesco Melzi; from whose heirs purchased by Pompeo Leoni, c.1582-90; Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel, by 1630; Probably acquired by Charles II; Royal Collection by 1690
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