BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

17 September 2014
Accessibility help
Science & Nature: TV & Radio Follow-upScience & Nature
Science & Nature: TV and Radio Follow-up

BBC Homepage

In TV & Radio

Contact Us

You are here: BBC Science > Leonardo da Vinci
Skull sketch

This drawing dates from around 1510, although Leonardo had first started looking at human skulls in 1499, when he got access to human cadavers from the hospital of Santa Maria Novella in Florence. He used innovative techniques, such as injecting molten wax, to locate and draw the cavities around the brain in the bones of the cranium.

In common with many people at the time, he was keen to find the seat of the human soul. The spine was thought to be the most likely location. Leonardo showed that the brain and spine were connected but never identified where the human soul lies. He disputed the belief - then widely held - that sperm were produced in the marrow of the spinal column.

The sketch is one of the Windsor Folios, part of the Royal Collection, held at Windsor.

Look For - This page is a good example of Leonardo's handwriting, in its secretive, reversed form.
Back to picture gallery
Skull sketch
to enlarge picture

Back to picture gallery

More from

Renaissance medicine
Go further

Royal Collection, Windsor

(The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.)

Science Homepage | Nature Homepage
Wildlife Finder | Prehistoric Life | Human Body & Mind | Space
Go to top

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy