During the Renaissance, artist and scientist Leonardo da Vinci described the heart’s workings with a level of accuracy extraordinary for his day. Some of his thinking, developed through drawing, was so advanced that scientists have only recently realised how accurate his analysis really was.

In this talk, hosted by the IF in collaboration with the Jesus College Art Club, heart surgeon and artist Francis Wells will discuss da Vinci’s sketches through a contemporary lens.

Accompanying the talk will be an exhibition on the upper floor of Frankopan Hall of da Vinci’s anatomical studies, modern photos of dissections mirroring da Vinci’s sketches, and Wells’ commentary. The Hall doors will open at 18:00 to allow attendees to view the exhibition before the talk. Attendees will also be welcome to stay after the talk until 21:30.

About the speaker

Francis Wells is a (still) practising heart surgeon at the Cambridge University group of hospitals, based at the Royal Papworth where he has worked as a consultant for the last 38 years. He trained in London, Cambridge and the USA as a Cardiothoracic surgeon, providing surgical therapies for intra-thoracic malignancies, heart and lung transplantation, and the artificial heart (the second in the world) and he is a specialist in reconstructive heart valve surgery.

A frustrated artist, Francis has always maintained an interest in the history of Art and Anatomy, in particular the Renaissance. Working with the Royal library in Windsor, he has researched in depth Leonardo’s anatomical sketches, culminating in his book, The Heart of Leonardo.