Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)
The rotation of the arm, and the foetus in the womb c.1511
Pen and ink over black chalk | 28.7 x 21.1 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 919103
Leonardo’s most brilliant and sustained scientific pursuit was his study of human anatomy. He made hundreds of drawings from corpses that he had dissected in monastery hospitals. One of Leonardo’s notes on this sheet compares the unborn baby to a seed in a pod, and observes that both receive nourishment through an umbilical cord which is ‘broken’ when the seed is ripe.
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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