Almost 500 years after Leonardo da Vinci’s death, technology has brought the artist’s ground-breaking studies of the human body to life. An iPad app, Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomy, allows the astonishing accuracy of Leonardo’s work to be fully appreciated for the first time.
Produced to coincide with the largest-ever exhibition of Leonardo’s anatomical drawings at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace (4 May – 7 October 2012), the app includes all of Leonardo’s anatomical drawings – 268 pages in total. Over 11 chapters, the app tells the story of the greatest challenge Leonardo faced in his career, as he embarked upon a campaign of dissection in hospitals and medical schools to investigate the bones, muscles, vessels and organs.
Leonardo is recognised as one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance, but he was also one of the most original and perceptive anatomists of all time. He intended to publish his work in a treatise that would have transformed European knowledge of anatomy. But on Leonardo’s death in 1519, the drawings remained among his private papers and were effectively lost to the world until the 20th century. The pages from his notebooks were pasted into albums by his successors, and one of the albums, containing all of Leonardo’s surviving anatomical studies, arrived in England in the 17th century. It was probably acquired by Charles II and has been in the Royal Collection since at least 1690.
Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomy includes interactive 3D anatomical models, pinch-zoom functionality and interviews with experts on Leonardo’s work and the history of medicine. It even allows users to reverse and translate the thousands of notes made by the artist in his distinctive mirror writing, direct from the pages of his notebooks.