Reviews - Review
So you think you know anatomy
- By: Annabel Ferriman
- Published: 31 May 2012
- DOI: 10.1136/sbmj.e3661
- Cite this as: Student BMJ 2012;20:e3661
Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist
Queen’s Gallery Buckingham Palace until 7 October
Entry: Adult £9.25, Student (with valid ID) £8.50
Discovering the anatomical drawings of Leonardo da Vinci for the first time is a bit like finding out that Lucian Freud was the man who unravelled the mysteries of DNA or that David Hockney was the pioneer of antibiotics.
It turns out that Leonardo, whom most of us know as the painter of the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, was also the most advanced anatomist of his generation and of many generations to follow.
Among the firsts that Leonardo achieved was the first accurate depiction of the spine, the first descriptions of cirrhosis of the liver, and the first drawing of the appendix.
Sadly for him, his genius as an anatomist was never recognised in his lifetime because he never published his drawings. He had every intention of doing so but never got round to it.
So when the Flemish anatomist Andreas Vesalius came along 25 years later and