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Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomy

I make no secret of my admiration of the work of Touch Press. Ever inventive, each app they have produced introduces an innovative feature or two that enhances the presentation at hand. Our reviewer Kathleen Wilson describes those found in Anatomy in her comments below, and Martin Clayton, Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Royal Collection, invites viewers on a tour of the app in a trailer created by the developer.

Both art and science classes can take advantage of this marvelous production. They may also want to view a short video in which Clayton discusses three of da Vinci’s drawings in depth, or download DK’s The Human Body so students can compare the artist’s drawings to modern-day renderings in full color.

Title: Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomy
Martin Clayton
Leonardo da Vinci
Developed by:
Touch Press with The Royal Collection
Imaging by: Primal Pictures
iOS, requires 5.0 or later

Gr 7 Up-Anyone who appreciates da Vinci’s artistic brilliance will enjoy this rare glimpse into his genius as a scientist. The app is a companion piece to an exhibit at The Queen’s Gallery in London and showcases 268 meticulous drawings from the Royal Collection, each a testament to how far ahead of his time the man truly was. Taking full advantage of the iPad’s high-resolution Retina display, the software allows users to zoom in for a closer look at the tiniest details of line and shading.

After a brief video introduction, the app opens on what looks like an ancient parchment paper portfolio divided into two parts: “The Story” and “The Drawings.” In the first section, viewers can watch as experts discuss da Vinci’s 28-year investigation into anatomy or browse through 11 artfully illustrated chapters of in-depth information about his life and work written by Martin Clayton, a curator at the Royal Collection.

In Drawings,” da Vinci’s work can be accessed by time period and medium, or visually, by scrolling through thumbnails of the art or by body systems. Like an exploration into his mind, moving a special lens over da Vinci’s notes in his signature right-to-left mirror writing reverses the text, tapping an icon reveals English translations of the comments he made in Italian alongside his drawings, and rotating and swiping modern 3-D images of the body exposes various internal systems juxtaposed with the artist’s drawings of them. This is an outstanding learning experience, rich in information, jam-packed with interactive tools, and absolutely gorgeous to boot.—Kathleen S. Wilson, New York University, NY, NY