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עמוד בית
Sat, 02.03.24


IMAJ | volume 25

Journal 2, February 2023
pages: 152-153

Leonardo da Vinci's Quest to Decipher the Essence of Nature, Man, Art, and Science: The Tale of Virgin of the Rocks

1 Department of Pediatrics and Pediatric Hematology, Meir Medical Center, Kfar Saba, Israel 2 Laboratory of Leukocyte Functions, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel 3 Department of Screen Based Art, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, Israel


Leonardo da Vinci was a man of art and science. He became the archetype of the Renaissance era. Leonardo exhaustively studied the proportions of the body, drawing Vitruvian Man in 1490. It is regarded as a universal cultural icon. Leonardo's anatomical illustrations were of notable precision, and he is still considered as the pioneer of modern anatomy. We focus on Leonardo's masterpiece Virgin of the Rocks, which displays the intersection between his prodigious artistic talent and his commitment to science. This master painting discloses discordance between the artist's vast anatomical knowledge and its actualization in the painting. Consequently, many enigmas arise: How could the expert of anatomy, considered as the canon man of proportions, paint anatomical errors and why did he not actualize his knowledge in the painting? Was this an error or intentional? Could the painting techniques he used explain optical illusions that distorted the images? Was he so far ahead of his time that he did not feel compelled to paint realistically, but rather preferred to let his imagination and creativity run free? Some 500 years after Leonardo da Vinci's death, there is no one answer, but there is room for much speculation.

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