Monash Malaysia Medical Lecture Series - Leonardo da Vinci
Date: Thursday, 3 May 2018
Venue: Plenary Theatre, Monash University Malaysia
Jalan Lagoon Selatan, 47500 Bandar Sunway
Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
Leonardo da Vinci, one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance period, was also one of the greatest anatomists ever to have lived. He personally dissected more than 30 human corpses to explore every aspect of anatomy and physiology, and recorded his findings in drawings of unparalleled beauty and lucidity. Had he published his researches as intended before his death in 1519, Leonardo would have transformed scientific knowledge of the human body. This lecture will present 30 of his finest sheets of studies, when he was reportedly working alongside the professor of anatomy at the University of Pavia. He was fascinated by the challenge of depicting a complex, layered, three-dimensional and mobile structure – the human body – in a static two-dimensional image, and devised many unique illustrative techniques and concepts to achieve his aims. Many of Leonardo’s original drawings from the 1500s are strikingly similar to our modern medical images. Leonardo’s stunningly detailed anatomy drawings from the Royal Collection will serve to illustrate concepts in artistic design not realised in medicine until the advent of 3D CT and MR radiological scanning within the last 40 years. This lecture will show how astute, accurate and significant were Leonardo’s researches, and how little the detailed knowledge of human anatomy has actually changed in 500 years.
Professor Abrahams is currently Professor Emeritus of Clinical Anatomy at Warwick Medical School, formerly Director of the West Midlands Surgical Training Centre, and is also a UK National Teaching Fellow. He was previously Clinical Anatomist at University College London and then University of Cambridge for many years. Apart from being a Life Fellow of Girton College-Cambridge, Visiting Professor at LKC Medicine-NTU Singapore, he is also Profe ssor of Clinical Anatomy at St. Georges University, Grenada since 1991 and a British National Health Service (NHS) family doctor for 45 years. A prolific writer, he is author of McMinn and Abrahams’ ‘Clinical Atlas of Human Anatomy (7th Edition), Weir & Abrahams’ ‘Imaging Atlas of Human Anatomy’ (5th Edition), ‘Gray’s Anatomy Review’ (2nd Edition) and Bailey and Love’s ‘Clinicial Anatomy’.
Interestingly, only following a stint as a VSO English teacher in the jungles of Sarawak, did he decide to study medicine at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London. He became side-tracked into anatomy after writing ‘Clinical Anatomy of Practical Procedures’ in 1973 and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 1975 in Anatomical Education at the University of Iowa. Professor Abrahams has lectured doctors and surgeons worldwide, acted as an examiner for the FRCS & MRCS for over 35 years and worked as an anatomical consultant for the World Health Organisation. Throughout his career, he has authored over 80 peer-reviewed papers and 25 books (in over 80 various language editions), as well as CDs and DVDs, podcasts and anatomical and surgical Apps. As a passionate proponent of educational technology in clinical anatomy teaching, his work has been recognised through distinguished awards including the BMA Electronic Publishing Prize, the Richard Asher Prize from the Royal Society of Medicine, the Farquharson Award of RCS Edinburgh and being made an ”Honoured Member” of the American Association of Clinical Anatomists.
His involvement in art history spans 30 years. For over a decade, he taught anatomy for artists at the UCL Slade School of Fine Art in London. Professor Abrahams was also appointed consultant to the Buckingham Palace Exhibition ‘Leonardo Da Vinci-Anatomist’ for the Olympics in 2012 and co-curator to the ‘Mechanics of Man’ Leonardo Da Vinci Exhibition in Holyroode Palace for the Edinburgh Festival in 2013. Since 2014, he has been consultant to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge on the Rothschild Bronzes by Michelangelo as well as advisor to the Director of the Uffizi, on the anatomy of Renaissance statues in Florence.