Leonardo da Vinci (Italian, 1452–1519)
Metalpoint on light buff prepared paper
4 1/8 x 5 1/4 in. (10.3 x 13.3 cm)
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975 (1975.1.369)
Leonardo da Vinci's abundant drawings and notebooks record his keen and tireless observation of all aspects of the natural world. This accurately rendered depiction of a bear walking was presumably drawn from life. (In one of his notebooks, the artist wrote of the presence of bears in the woods outside Milan.) It relates thematically to a small group of drawings of a bear's head and paws that Leonardo probably produced for an anatomical treatise. The faint outlines of a seated woman are visible beneath the drawing of the bear, indicating that Leonardo reused the sheet.