R: Muscles of the arm and the veins of the arm and trunk. V: Muscles of the shoulder, arm and neck

Leonardo da Vincic.1510-11

Royal Collection Trust, UK

Royal Collection Trust, UK
London, United Kingdom

Recto: studies of musculature in the right arm; the head of an old man, resembling a recumbent effigy; a diagrammatic drawing of the jaw; a study of a left arm, showing the veins; veins of the body and the right arm; a detailed drawing of the basilic vein and tributaries; notes on the drawings. Verso: four studies of the right shoulder and arm; a slight study of the elbow; a front view of an open mouth, showing molar teeth, palate, uvula and throat; notes on the drawings. In the winter of 1510-11 Leonardo was apparently working in the medical school of the University of Pavia, alongside the professor of anatomy Marcantonio della Torre. He may have dissected up to 20 human bodies that winter, and the elderly and apparently dead man depicted at the top of this page (RCIN 919005r) was presumably the subject of one of Leonardo’s dissections. His investigations focussed on the mechanisms of the bones and muscles, and he developed novel illustrative techniques to convey the complexity of these mobile, layered, three-dimensional structures. Following his first efforts in anatomy around 1490, Leonardo returned to the subject around 1506. He intended to publish an illustrated treatise on the subject, but this was never completed, and the work of one of the great anatomists of the Renaissance thus had no discernible impact on the discipline. Text adapted from Leonardo da Vinci, A life in drawing, London, 2018


  • Title: R: Muscles of the arm and the veins of the arm and trunk. V: Muscles of the shoulder, arm and neck
  • Creator: Leonardo da Vinci
  • Date Created: c.1510-11
  • Physical Dimensions: 28.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Provenance: Bequeathed to Francesco Melzi; from whose heirs purchased by Pompeo Leoni, c.1582-90; Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel, by 1630; probably acquired by Charles II; Royal Collection by 1690
  • Type: Drawing
  • Rights: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019
  • External Link: Royal Collection Trust website
  • Medium: Black chalk, pen and ink, wash

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