Plenary session: Looking Inside
– Martin J. Kemp, Professor of the History of Art, History of Art Department, University of Oxford
“Leonardo’s body of visual knowledge”
– Hans Wigzell, Deputy Chairman, Karolinska Investment Fund, Stockholm
“Leonardo and Lennart Nilsson – viewing and imaging of the human body”
– Heinrich Mächler, Department of Cardiac Surgery, Medical University of Graz
“Leonardo da Vinci and Leonardo da Pisa – from their minds to modern cardiac science”
Martin Kemp is professor of the history of art at Oxford University. An internationally renowned Leonardo da Vinci scholar, he has published his scientific findings in several books. In 1989 he initiated a large-scale Leonardo exhibition. He also organizes a series of events subsumed under the heading of the Universal Leonardo Project. In 2006 he started to showcase the artistic and scientific accomplishments of this great Renaissance man in several exhibitions.
Thousands of pages worth of drawings, notes, and sketches disclose how Leonardo developed his innovative ideas and creative visions, ranging from the functioning of cardiac valves to flying machines. Martin Kemp allows us to understand the life and oeuvre of Leonardo da Vinci. Kemp never fails to point to Leonardo’s main tenet, i.e. “that apparent differences in nature are symptoms of an inherent unity that depends on something like a unified field theory; the latter helps us explain the way in which virtually all things work in this world that we can observe.” (Kemp) His presentation will focus on the dual meaning of Leonardo’s notion of “seeing”. In both English and Italian “to see” means to view as well as to understand something. “The eye, which is called the window of the soul, is the principal means by which the central sense can most completely and abundantly appreciate the infinite works of nature.” (Leonardo)
The eye, in other words, is more than a camera, it lets us view and understand things. This mode of conveying knowledge that includes both understanding and seeing was first explored by Leonardo da Vinci, and then again by Lennart Nilsson, as exemplified by his first photo of a living human embryo on the cover of Life magazine in 1965. “He may be considered Leonardo da Vinci’s counterpart.” (Wigzell)
Nilsson is arguably one of the most acclaimed scientific photographers in the world, merging high-tech with artistic mastery at the interface between science and art. His spectacular documentations on how life evolves in the womb became a bestseller almost instantly. He has received multiple Emmy Awards. His goal is to render the invisible both visible and comprehensible. He has set out on this riveting journey into the human body and has fully devoted himself to the miracle and mystery of life. Nilsson has been working for the Karolinska Institut in Stockholm for many years.
Hans Wigzell, who was President of the Karolinska Institut from 1995 to 2003, has written scientific comments on Lennart Nilsson’s fascinating photographs and explained his work in the context of historical representations of the body. Professor Hans Wigzell is one of the leading scientists worldwide, particularly in the fields of immunology, tumor research, and cell biology. He was appointed Chairman of the Nobel Assembly in 2000 and Chairman for the WHO-UNAIDS Vaccine Advisory Committee in 2002. He is also a senior scientific advisor of the Swedish government.
Mathematical formulae that express regular proportions in natural systems have always served to represent the human body. After Euclid of Alexandria it was Leonardo da Pisa, known as Fibonacci, who rediscovered and further developed concepts such as the “golden section” and succumbed to the fascination of sequences illustrated by the number phi. In fact, he introduced Europe to these phenomena before Leonardo da Vinci did. The latter also believed that he could pinpoint the manner in which individual body parts interrelate harmoniously. This number representing the “inner unity by which the functioning of all things can be explained” (Leonardo da Vinci) is now slowly being rediscovered by the scientific community. More recent publications in the field of cardiology and cardiac surgery suggest that the functioning of the heart must be reassessed, especially as regards heart failure.
Heinrich Mächler, Professor at the Department of Cardiac Surgery (Medical University of Graz), will expound on Fibonacci’s view of the world, demonstrating parallels between Nautilus shells and the construction of significant buildings, as well as between the appearance of a pineapple and the way in which the heart muscle is built up. Leonardo da Vinci was the first one to describe the movement of water by using 64 terms (circulation, rotation, rebound, repulsion, revolution,& ); his drawings help us understand the blood flow occurring in the heart. Lennart Nilsson will show to us that a fragile cardiac valve is not just a simple valve. Modern imaging techniques applied in medicine and surgery designed to treat cardiac failure bear witness to Leonardo’s and Fibonacci’s genius flow conditions and heart functions are now seen in a different light.
Leonardo despaired over words to describe complex phenomena since he felt that only his drawings could provide adequate visual presentations of what he observed (Kemp). The aim of the speakers is to offer a strong visual component that enhances our comprehension.
Professor of the History of Art, University of Oxford
|He has written and broadcast extensively on imagery in art and science from the Renaissance to the present day. He speaks on issues of visualisation and lateral thinking to a wide range of audiences.|
|Leonardo da Vinci has been the subject of books and exhibitions, including Leonardo (Oxford University Press 2004). His has published on imagery in the sciences of anatomy, natural history and optics, including The Science of Art. Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat (Yale University Press).|
|Increasingly, he has focused on issues of visualization, modelling and representation. He writes a regular column on "Science in Culture" in Nature (an early selection published as Visualisations, OUP, 2000). The Nature essays are developed in Seen and Unseen (OUP 2006), in which his concept of "structural intuitions" is explored. Forthcoming books include The Human Animal (Chicago).|
|He was trained in Natural Sciences and Art History at Cambridge University and the Courtauld Institute, London. He was British Academy Wolfson Research Professor (1993-98). For more than 25 years he was based in Scotland (Universities of Glasgow and St. Andrews. He has held visiting posts in Princeton, New York, North Carolina and Los Angeles.|
|He has curated a series of exhibitions on Leonardo and on art and science, including Spectacular Bodies at the Hayward Gallery in London and Leonardo da Vinci. Experience, Experiment, Design at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2006. He was also guest curator for Ca 1492 at the National Gallery in Washington in 1992.|
Professor, Klinische Abteilung für Herzchirurgie, Universitätsklinik für Chirurgie, Medizinische Universität Graz
|1992||Facharzt für Chirurgie|
|1995||Zusatzfach für Herzchirurgie|
|1997||Zusatzfach für Intensivmedizin|
|2002||Absolvent des Hochschullehrganges für medizinische Führungskräfte Universität Graz|
|2005||Absolvent eines MSc-Lehrganges (Krankenhausmanagement, Donauuniversität Krems)|
|2006||Absolvent eines MBA-Lehrganges (Health Care Management) WU Wien|
|seit 2007||Vorstandsmitglied der Österreichischen Gesellschaft f. Chirurgie|
|gerichtlich beeideter Sachverständiger|
|Projektleiter von 12 klinischen Studien|
Scientific Advisor to the Swedish Prime Minister, Stockholm
|1967||M.D. and Ph.D., Karolinska Institutet|
|1967-1971||Special Cancer Scientist Position, Swedish Cancer Society|
|1971-1973||Acting Associate Professor, Department of Tumor Biology, Karolinska Institutet|
|1973-1982||Professor, Chairman, Department of Immunology, Uppsala University Medical School, Uppsala, Sweden|
|1982-2004||Professor of Immunology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden|
|1988-1993||Director General, National Bacteriological Laboratory, Stockholm, Sweden|
|1990-2003||Chairman of the EC Concerted Research Programme - European Vaccine against AIDS (EVA programme)|
|1990-1992||Chairman of the Nobel Committee, Karolinska Institutet|
|1993-1994||Director General, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Stockholm, Sweden|
|1995-2003||President of Karolinska Institutet|
|since 1999||Chief Scientific Advisor to the Swedish Prime Minister and Government|
|2000||Chairman, Nobel Assembly, Karolinska Institutet|