After-dinner speaker: Professor Peter Abrahams, Warwick Medical School & University of Cambridge
Leonardo Da Vinci: a 15th-century artist whose artistic concepts anticipated 21st-century imaging?
Leonardo da Vinci was one of the greatest anatomists ever to have lived. He personally dissected more than thirty human corpses to explore most aspects of the human body and recorded his findings in line drawings of unparalleled beauty, accuracy and lucidity. Had he published his uniquely illustrated researches, Leonardo would have transformed medical scientific knowledge of the 15th century. This presentation will show some of his finest sheets of studies, many of which he did while working with the professor of anatomy in the University of Pavia. He was fascinated by the challenge of depicting a complex, layered, 3D, mobile structure – the human body – as a static two-dimensional image on paper, and he thus devised many unique and totally original illustrative techniques and concepts to achieve these aims. I will be illustrating his new and original artistic concepts alongside specifically prepared modern 3D reconstructed CT MR and Ultrasound scans from a 21st century hospital and computer centre. Leonardo’s drawings and original ideas on medical illustration are strikingly like modern medical images and these will be shown in parallel throughout the whole lecture. I hope to convince how astute and mostly accurate were Leonardo’s researches, and how little the detailed knowledge of the human anatomy has changed in 500 years- it was a medical disaster that his illustrations lay dormant in Windsor castle Library for centuries.