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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

Cats, lions, and a dragon c.1513-18

Pen and ink with wash over black chalk | 27.0 x 21.0 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 912363

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Most of the sketches show cats and lions apparently studied from life, though the dragon shows how strong Leonardo’s powers of visualisation were. Leonardo was fascinated by the flexibility of the feline spine, and around 1513 he considered writing a treatise on ‘the movements of animals with four feet, among which is man, who likewise in his infancy crawls on all fours’.