Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci, the great artist behind the "Mona Lisa", is regarded as one of the most immensely talented people to have ever lived and in honour of that incredible talent, an exhibition will be held at the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace on 4 May.
The revolutionary intellectual will be shown as an anatomist who was way ahead of his time and this will reportedly be the largest ever collection of his ground-breaking studies of the human body. The 16th century leather album that contains his notes is more than 300 years old and holds some of the most remarkable drawings ever produced, consisting of detailed studies of bones, muscles and internal organs, including the heart and the brain.
It is believed he did intend to publish his studies but his death in 1519 put paid to any such plans, leaving his papers a mass of undigested and unorganised material. It is speculated that had his work been published at the time, it could have changed the European understanding of the human body.
"The binding was effectively the tomb of the drawings... it ensured that they were not circulated or published," Martin Clayton, the exhibition's curator was quoted as saying in a BBC report, "Only around 1900 did they emerge from the binding, and we now know that they were among the most amazingly detailed and accurate anatomical drawings of all time."
"And this exhibition will be the greatest opportunity since Leonardo's death to marvel at his achievement," he added.
Leonardo passed on his notebooks and drawings to his young assistant Francesco Melzi; these were later obtained by his son in 1590 who sold them to the sculptor Pompeo Leoni. Leoni bound the drawings together in an album along with hundreds of other artistic drawings, with his name alongside Leonardo's in gold lettering on the cover.
The letters read: "Disegni di Leonardo da Vinci restaurati da Pompeo Leoni" and, translated, say: "Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, preserved by Pompeo Leoni".
More of the exhibition details on the Royal Collection Official site.