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LEONARDO DA VINCI - Studies of back and spinal-column muscles


Royal Collection (RLW), 19015r; K/P 149r

In this sheet, Leonardo has made a particularly determined effort to depict the action of the muscles that ensure the stability and flexion of the spinal column. The figures at the center demonstrate how each vertebra is controlled by ten muscles grouped into five pairs, each consisting of two muscles working in opposite directions.

To clarify the complex mechanics of these integrated muscular actions, Leonard has added a small diagram underneath, in which the ten muscles connected to a vertebra are replaced by five pairs of ropes or strings. He uses the same technique in the two drawings on the lower right, which show the role of muscles in flexing and stabilizing the spinal column.

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