The muscles of the left leg, seen from the front, and the bones and muscles of the right leg seen in right profile, and between them, a patella. Drawing by Michelangelo Buonarroti, ca. 1515-1520.
These drawings of the human leg are by the artist Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), whose studies of anatomy are recorded by his earliest biographers, Vasari (1550) and Condivi (1553). Michelangelo reportedly first dissected a cadaver in Florence around 1495, after he had been commissioned to sculpt a crucifix of wood for the church of Santo Spirito. The prior of the church gave him rooms in which he could, by dissection, learn how to render convincingly the muscles of the dying Christ. His last witnessed dissection occurred in Rome in 1548. Such ...