Free Art For All - Anatomy of an Eye Starring Renaissance Artist Leonardo

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Leonardo da Vinci studied anatomy with Doctor Marcantonia de la Torre, ironically Dr. Marcantonia died of the plague and over 240 detailed drawings and 13,000 words were never published.  Leonardo da Vinci had to get permission from the Pope in order to dissect corpses in order to study human anatomy.  Leonardo is know for his pen and ink sketch of the Vitruvian Man.  We talk about how this pen and ink drawing is not usually seen in museams.  Today there are artists who do detailed drawings for Anatomy Books.  In todays lesson we will explain what is needed to do an anatomy drawing and concentrate on the anatomy of an eye.  Instead of dissecting an eye we will use an anatomy book called “The Anatomy Coloring Book” by Wynn Kapity and Lawrence M. Elson.  We have done a couple of videos and talked about the sizes of human bodies, if you are interested you can view Lesson 15 Stickmen and Lesson 16 Beyond Stickmen.


  1. Strathmore sketchbook
  2. Pentax mechanical pencil
  3. Kneaded Eraser
  4. Prismacolor Colored Pencils


  1. We start by talking about the surfacer muscles just under the skin that make the eye move.  We draw a diagram and name those muscles.
  2. We talk about how da Vinci worked with a doctor and drew the pictures and labeled them.  We are now looking at how the eyeball sits in the eye socket and how the eyelids hold the in place.  
  3. We diagram the eye; naming the iris, lens, eyelids, tear and ligaments
  4. Using the colored pencils we will draw and actual eye as seen from a frontal view

An artist has to study how something is made before they can accurately portray it.  By understanding that the eyeball is a curved shape and not a flat shape we are able to make the eye look 3D.  Once again daVinci’s talent with perspective has improved his overall depiction of the human body.