How did Leonardo da Vinci help anatomy/medicine?If there is links it would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

Expert Answers
Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Leonardo da Vinci's amazing anatomical sketches could have had a huge impact on medical discovery and knowledge.  He visited morgues and hospitals, so he could perform dissections and greater understand the composition and anatomy of the human body.  He spent much time trying to understand how the human heart worked and even made a glass model of one in order to observe the different sections at work.  He then concluded that "the swelling made the aortic valve close after each heartbeat, a proposition which cardiologists didn’t arrive at until the early 20th century and didn’t fully confirm until the 1980s" (Popova). 

Unfortunately, Leonardo died before he could publish his work.  Most of da Vinci's anatomical sketches and discoveries never became public knowledge, and therefore could not really influence his contemporaries' medical knowledge.  The bulk of them were among his personal possessions which disappeared after his death.  Later, when access to his sketches became more available, doctors and scientists were able to use his sketches to supplement their own knowledge.  Only now, much later, is the public seeing the majority of Leonardo da Vinci's amazing anatomical sketches in a newly published collection Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist; there is even an accompanying iPad app.


Popova, Maria.  "A Rare Glimpse of Leonardo da Vinci's Anatomical Drawings." Brain Pickings. Popova. web. 6 Jan. 2013.

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