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Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

The muscles of the shoulder, torso and leg


Creator: Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519) (artist)
Creation Date: 
Materials and techniques: 
Pen and ink, and red chalk
16.1 x 15.3 cm
RL 12640
K&P 82
P(L) 326
Acquirer: Charles II, King of Great Britain (1630-85)
Bequeathed 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

Two studies of a nude man, standing in profile to the right, with his right arm cut off to show the muscles of the side; a scene of a horseman charging at a fleeing man with a shield; a note on the action of the shoulder muscles, and above, a slight sketch of the shoulder and raised arm of the central nude; to the right of the figures is a slight sketch of an arm, extended horizontally; on the extreme right, a man's left leg and hip, viewed in profile to the right.

Leonardo often used one sheet of paper to explore several different subjects, in this case a small battle scene, anatomical studies, and written notes. The three anatomical studies on the left-hand side of the page show how the superficial muscles of the torso change when the shoulder is placed in different positions. Leonardo explains his findings in the notes written in his characteristic backwards 'mirror-writing'.

Further details

Unframed Drawings / Watercolours