Studies of figures and of machinery

Studies of figures and of machinery 1480-81

In this drawing, Leonardo explores bodily and mechanical movement in tandem.

On the upper left of the sheet, three figures are shown sitting or crouching as if engaged in lively conversation. Leonardo perfectly captures the speed and spontaneity of their actions with the fluid lines of the silverpoint. The shifting, changing, contours of each figure provides a sense of lively animation, while the assured handling of the silverpoint and rapid diagonal hatching articulates the bodily forms and conveys an intuitive grasp of their anatomical structure.

Across the remainder of the sheet, Leonardo has sketched machine parts based on drawings after Brunelleschi’s devices for the construction of the dome and lantern of Florence Cathedral, indicating an interest on the artist’s part in early mechanical inventions.

  • Medium Silverpoint on pale ink prepared paper
  • Size 20.4 x 18 cm
  • Location Ashmolean Museum

< Back to list