One of the most complementary, if entirely coincidental, companions to our own summer exhibition, Death, rests on the walls of the Queen's Gallery. The largest ever exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci's studies on the human body, Anatomist is a epic journey through the human body. Through scientific dissections of man and animal, Leonardo methodically pushed to understand the workings of our bodies so that he could publish a ground-breaking treatise on anatomy. He painstakingly recorded his discoveries in 268 pages of writings and drawings that investigated the bones, muscles, vessels and organs of living things; 87 pages from his notebooks are on view today, some of which have never been seen. Had he successfully published these findings, Leonardo would not only have been remembered as one of the greatest artists and engineers of the Renaissance but would also have transformed European knowledge of the subject of the body and would have likely had an unparalleled effect on the advancement of medicine.
As flawlessly hung in the Queen's Gallery with just the right amout of multi-media to support and enrich the aging drawings, the works are staged so as to take us on a journey through Leonardo's own discoveries. From the first accurate depiction of the spine, dating from c.1510-11, to never-before-seen notes from the dissection of a 100-year old man, in which Leonardo tries to find the cause of "so sweet a death," to his analysis of the structure of the heart and womb, his relentless drive to understand our bodies in life and in death is overwhelmingly beautiful.
On view until 7 October, this is an opportunity that shouldn't be missed.