2 May 2018
19:30 – 21:30
PETROSAINS, the Discovery Centre, Level 4, Suria KLCC, PETRONAS Twin Towers, 50088 Kuala Lumpur
Leonardo da Vinci – a 15th century anatomist whose artistic and conceptual ideas anticipated 21st century radiology?
Professor Peter Abrahams, Chair of Clinical Anatomy, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick
Leonardo da Vinci was one of the greatest anatomists ever to have lived. He personally dissected more than thirty human corpses to explore every aspect of anatomy and physiology, and recorded his findings in drawings of unparalleled beauty and lucidity. Had he published his researches, Leonardo would have transformed European knowledge of the human body. Sadly at his death his studies remained unpublished, and were almost unknown (unseen), hidden in Windsor castle until around 1900.
Leonardo’s surviving anatomical drawings are preserved in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle, England. Some of his finest sheets of studies, concentrating on his extraordinary campaign of dissection during the winter of 1510-11 when he wasworking alongside the professor of anatomy at the University of Pavia, were recently displayed at the “Mechanics of Man Exhibition“ at the Palace of Holyroodhouse as part of the Edinburgh Festival.
He was fascinated by the challenge of depicting a complex, layered, three-dimensional and mobile structure – the human body – in a static two-dimensional image, and devised many unique illustrative techniques to achieve his aims. Many of Leonardo’s drawings are strikingly similar to modern medical images, and display his studies alongside CT and MRI scans and state-of-the-art computer animations to show how astute and accurate and original were Leonardo’s dissections and artistic representations, and how little the detailed knowledge of human anatomy has changed in 500 years.
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