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01.06.2014 | original article | Ausgabe 11-12/2014

Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift 11-12/2014

The oldest anatomical handmade skull of the world c. 1508: ‘The ugliness of growing old’ attributed to Leonardo da Vinci

Zeitschrift:
Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 11-12/2014
Autor:
PhD Dr. Stefaan J. Missinne

Summary

The author discusses a previously unknown early sixteenth-century renaissance handmade anatomical miniature skull. The small, naturalistic skull made from an agate (calcedonia) stone mixture (mistioni) shows remarkable osteologic details. Dr. Saban was the first to link the skull to Leonardo. The three-dimensional perspective of and the search for the senso comune are discussed. Anatomical errors both in the drawings of Leonardo and this skull are presented. The article ends with the issue of physiognomy, his grotesque faces, the Perspective Communis and his experimenting c. 1508 with the stone mixture and the human skull. Evidence, including the Italian scale based on Crazie and Braccia, chemical analysis leading to a mine in Volterra and Leonardo’s search for the soul in the skull are presented. Written references in the inventory of Salai (1524), the inventory of the Villa Riposo (Raffaello Borghini 1584) and Don Ambrogio Mazenta (1635) are reviewed. The author attributes the skull c. 1508 to Leonardo da Vinci.

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