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When thinking about Leonardo da Vinci, visions of the Mona Lisa or The Last Supper most likely spring to mind, testifying to his sheer artistic genius. But what you may not know is that he was also a gifted scientist well ahead of his time, and spent years perfecting his knowledge of human anatomy. His findings were so exact that they revolutionized the field with groundbreaking revelations which had never been discovered before… or at least that’s how the world would’ve remembered him best, had it not been for the fact that he never published his work.
All 268 pages of his anatomical drawings, which had been lost to the world for hundreds of years, are currently on display as part of the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle, but if you can’t make the trip to the UK, don’t despair. There’s an even better way to experience Leonardo's genius: with any iPad.
This is a sublime piece of work. You can learn about the artist himself through 11 detailed chapters which put his passion for anatomy in context with the rest of his life, and all of his drawings are available for you to touch. You can zoom in and out of the highly detailed images, and attempt to read Leonardo’s famous reversed handwriting. There’s a handy mirror you can toggle to make this easier for you, but if you find yourself hopelessly lost in ancient Italian, tap on 'Translated' and the original words are transformed into English.
Many pages come with interactive three-dimensional models alongside the original drawings so you can compare Leonardo’s findings with our current knowledge, plus you can toggle a detailed explanation of each page. Additionally, each chapter ends with a short video interview, which puts a modern feel to the history unraveling before your eyes.
The bottom line. If you’re a fan of history, art, or anatomy (ideally all three) and you own an iPad, Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomy is an invaluable resource, despite its relatively high price. After all, when have you ever been able to touch 500-year-old drawings in such exquisite detail before?
iPad running iOS 5.0 or later
Gorgeous digital reproductions of Leonardo's anatomical drawings. Detailed information and great interactivity. Works in both landscape and portrait orientations.
Can't copy text. Occasional scrolling glitch. Hefty file size.