Leonardo da Vinci and his contribution to anatomy

  • Louis Hussein Patú Hazime Catholic University of Pernambuco
  • Narriman Patú Hazime Catholic University of Pernambuco
Keywords: Leonardo da Vinci; Anatomy; Circulatory System; Anatomical Teaching.


INTRODUCTION: Leonardo da Vinci was a polymath who excelled in areas such as science, and especially, anatomy, being considered one of the greatest anatomists of all time, designing numerous studies on the human skeleton and its parts, as well as the muscles and nerves, the heart and the vascular system, the sexual organs, among others. His most famous drawing, the Vitruvian Man, is a study of the proportions of the human body, combining art and science in a unique work that represents Renaissance Humanism, surpassing the knowledge of the artists of his time. AIM​ To exalt Leonardo da Vinci's contributions to anatomy, highlighting his main achievements and his legacy in teaching and studying of anatomy. MATERIAL AND METHODS: A systematic review was carried out regarding Leonardo da Vinci's contribution to modern anatomy. Using the search engines PubMed and Google Scholar, using the following keywords “Leonardo da Vinci”, “Anatomy” and “da Vinci and Anatomy”. The choice of keywords was based on order of relevance and which ones were most related to the chosen theme from the analysis of the title and/or abstract. 13 articles were used, with the year of publication from 2009 to 2019, in Portuguese and English. RESULTS:​ Leonardo da Vinci designed organs and elements of the anatomical and functional systems of the human body leading to discoveries that would revolutionize medicine, more than 20 years before Andreas Vesalius, considered the “Father of Anatomy”, published his book “De Humani Corporis Fabrica”. Leonardo da Vinci's collaboration began with studies based on the anatomy of the human skull, studying the senses and their connections to the brain, especially vision; he was the first to recognize that the optic nerves cross to connect to the opposite cerebral hemisphere. He called this crossing point "common sense", and thought the soul was located there, nowadays it is known to be where the hypothalamus is. Between 1508 and 1510, he focused his studies on bones and the skeleton, simultaneously, his interest became muscle groups, with a deepening of physiology and anatomical mobility. Around 1513, he began his studies on the heart, vessels, and circulatory system. His anatomical research also involved the genitourinary tract, being fundamental for the discovery and description of new structures. CONCLUSION:​ It is evident that Leonardo da Vinci's contributions and legacies to anatomy are innumerable. His knowledge and discoveries spanned centuries, spreading learning and anatomical teaching.

How to Cite
Hazime, L., & Hazime, N. (2021). Leonardo da Vinci and his contribution to anatomy. Acta Scientiae Anatomica, 1(Suppl 2), 91-92. Retrieved from http://actasanatomica.com/journal/index.php/asa/article/view/165