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Royal Collection © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
The rotation of the arm, and the foetus in the womb
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.