An exhibition on the anatomical works of Leonardo da Vinci, which offers a dive into the heart of the Tuscan's research to pierce The Mechanics of Life, opens Friday at the Château du Clos Lucé, in Amboise (Indre-et-Loire). Presented until September 17, the event spreads the erudite paths of the Renaissance genius, from his first studies on superficial anatomy to deciphering the functioning of the heart, through the different "souls" of the body.
Leonardo's approach, thirty years long, is first and foremost a quest for personal knowledge. "But at the end of his life, he wanted to publish a book," says Pascal Brioist, professor of history at the University of Tours and co-curator of the exhibition. Student for his account, the Tuscan master has therefore "in no way" advanced science, notes the specialist of the Renaissance. "But that doesn't stop him from making important breakthroughs in the functioning of the heart and optics," he says.
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After witnessing dissections performed by doctors, the passionate Leonard takes the scalpel. His work led him to develop several methods of dissection, such as layered or sliced. Its transcription in sketches is striking: it approaches the perfection of radiology, MRI and modern scanners, presented at the Clos Lucé in comparison.
"We tried to place Leonardo's work in the current era, comparing it to modern imagery," explains Dominique Le Nen. Second curator of the exhibition, the body specialist is also a hand surgeon at the University Hospital of Brest. And he readily admits to being "amazed at the relevance of the drawings" of the Italian master.
A strong element of the exhibition, the reconstruction of a dissection room of the Clos Lucé, where Leonardo spent the last three years of his life (1516-1519) at the invitation of Francis I, hides from sensitive eyes. His model of a corpse, more real than life, and his period tools are challenging. "By reproducing the dissection room, we confront death, the same taboo as Leonardo. In this desire to pierce the living, Leonardo faces death directly, "says Pascal Brioist. A face-to-face that the artist, adept at mirror writing, might have savored.