articles: Exploring the beauty of the human body
Leonardo's anatomical drawings from the Royal Collection.Domenico Olivero (translated by Savina Carluccio)
After the great exhibition dedicated to Leonardo the painter in the National Gallery in London, now is the time of Leonardo the scientist. Thanks to the extensive private collection of Queen Elizabeth II it is now possible to view his study notebooks, full of fantastic drawings and plenty of notes about the nature that surrounded him.
For the occasion 87 pages full of anatomical drawings from the royal collection are on show in the beautiful Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace until Oct 7. They have been selected by Martin Clayton, manager of the exhibition of drawings at the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. These pages were meant to be collated in a treaty by the artist but then after his death were spread out and of which a considerable part now is part of the English collection.
The exhibition’s theme is anatomy, as it was for the exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1977, but in this occasion there are new drawings and the event has been planned in a scientific rather than artistic way.
In the Olympics year when the human body expresses itself at its best, this exhibition is the most appropriate way to celebrate the human body as seen in the beauty of art.
The theme of human body is very dear to Leonardo, initially because of his work as a painter and then because of his curiosity to understand the "mechanisms" which moved the human body. Precisely this aspect of scientific analysis is treated in the drawings from his direct experience of dissection of human bodies.
His studies are proposed in chronological order from 1485/6 to the end of his days, often realised after thorough observations of corpses made with doctor friends. His skilful and careful transcription into delicate drawings where beauty is used to document the scientific analysis and study is utterly remarkable. Muscular structures, the dense network of cardio-vascular system, the skeleton, the masses of the brain and many other organs are examined by Leonardo in his drawings and notes.
The exhibition is beautifully installed and the educational material is very rich. The spaces are perhaps a little tight but overall this is an interesting cultural event, which fans of the genre cannot miss.
Documentary in English, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdxEF51kY_4&list=UUTkC3Jt91QkqNAE4FGWkEIQ&index=3&feature=plcp
Domenico Olivero (translated by Savina Carluccio) - May 11, 2012
[This article originally appeared in Italian: Esplorare la bellezza del corpo umano]