Leonardo da Vinci and neuroscience

Project: Research Project

Project Details


Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was one of the foremost geniuses of the Italian Renaissance. He was a polymath with multiple skills including painting, architecture, anatomy, botany, engineering, and poetry. He showed great interest in human anatomy, much more than the artists of the time, and to better understand it, he participated in cadaver dissections in the city of Milan. He made more than 1,000 drawings of human anatomy. He identified arteries, the anterior, middle and posterior cranial fossae and described the anatomy of the ventricles by injecting wax into their interior. According to the prevailing concepts at the time, he considered that the "vital spirit" resided in them. He represented the optic chiasm, identified the olfactory bulb, and five other cranial nerves. He made very precise drawings of the spinal cord to which he attributed the "generative force." Despite intending to publish a treatise on anatomy, he never did so, many of his drawings and notes on anatomy and physiology being shelved and discovered and published more than 200 years after his death. The purpose of the research is to analyze in depth the neuroanatomical and neurophysiological work of the Italian genius, who demonstrated an inexhaustible curiosity that continues to arouse admiration more than five centuries after his death.
Effective start/end date1/1/2012/31/20

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Main Funding Source

  • Installed Capacity (Academic Unit)


  • Europe


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