Leonardo da Vinci's abundant drawings and notebooks record his keen and tireless observation of all aspects of the natural world. He probably drew this study from life and his anatomical understanding of the animal may have been aided by his dissections of bears. The sheet relates to a group of bear studies that Leonardo probably produced for his planned anatomical treatise, about which he wrote: “I will discourse of the hands of each animal to show in what way they vary, as in the bear which has the ligatures of the toes joined above the instep.” The faint outlines of a seated woman are visible beneath the drawing of the bear, indicating that Leonardo reused the sheet.
Thomas Lawrence, London; Samuel Woodburn, London; Lawrence-Woodburn sale 1860, June 8, lot 1038; private collection, England; [P.& D. Colnaghi & Co., London]; Ludwig Rosenthal, Bern, Switzerland; (later L.V. Randall, Montreal); [Schaeffer Galleries, New York]; acquired by Robert Lehman from Schaeffer Galleries in February 1945
Artist: Leonardo da Vinci (Italian, Vinci 1452–1519 Amboise)Date: 1480–85Medium: Silverpoint, partly reworked by the artist with pen and dark brown ink on pink prepared paper; lines ruled with metalpoint (recto); pen and brown ink (verso)
Accession: 17.142.1On view in:Not on view
Artist: Follower of Leonardo da Vinci (Italian, Vinci 1452–1519 Amboise) (Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio?)Date: 1490–1500Medium: Metalpoint, highlighted with white gouache, on pale blue-gray prepared paperAccession: 19.76.3On view in:Not on view