The Heart of Leonardo

July 17, 2013

Our contemporary understanding of the human heart and its workings is at the cutting edge of modern medical and biological research. However, even in the current era of advanced molecular biology, mathematics and engineering, we still struggle to fully decipher the complexities of the normal and diseased heart. Leonardo Da Vinci's heart studies represent the pinnacle of his anatomical endeavours. A new book, The Heart of Leonardo, features all of Leonardo's drawings on the heart and its physiology, accompanied by translations of his accompanying notes.

The author Francis C. Wells proves the veracity of Leonardo's work against contemporary dissections of cardiac structure. Wherever possible, his illustrations are compared with contemporary images generated by magnetic resonance scanners and high definition ultrasound. The book represents the only modern interpretation of Leonardo's works by a practicing clinician and anatomist in a way that is meaningful to cardiology and medical specialists as well as art historians, and the general public.

In Leonardo's work on the heart, his use of ingenious diagrams as well as detailed representational drawings is cleverly combined with carefully crafted verbal descriptions of physiological concepts. Some of his thinking, developed through drawing, was so advanced that only now with the advent of accessible technology and advances in modern knowledge of the heart, it is possible to re-interpret Leonardo's conclusions. It can be seen how accurate his logical reasoning and pure observation really was. Several of his ideas continue to sit well alongside our modern understanding of cardiac physiology and heart function.
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About the author

Francis Wells is a cardiothoracic surgeon at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, the United Kingdom's largest specialist cardio-thoracic hospital and most reputable cardiac centres. Dr. Wells is a recognized world leader in the field of mitral and tricuspid valve surgery. He has the largest experience in mitral valve reconstruction in the UK and amongst the largest in the world, with over 3,000 cases completed. He is also an accomplished artist with a specific interest in Leonardo Da Vinci's drawings of the heart.

Francis C. Wells
The Heart of Leonardo
Foreword by HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales
2013, XI, 174 p. 149 illus., 148 illus. in color.
Hardcover € 139,99 | £ 126.00 | $ 189.00
ISBN 978-1-4471-4530-1
Also available as an eBook.

Springer

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