Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Collection of anatomical drawings available in Europeana

Almost 4400 anatomical drawings from the collections of Leiden University Libraries (UBL) are now available through Europeana. The collection shows medical art on paper from the early eighteenth century to the present day. Most of the drawings were created in or around the Leiden University Medical Centre and were made to illustrate publications or to support research and education. The collection was previously made available via Digital Collections of the UBL . Now that the anatomical drawings collection is available via the Europeana platform, it is even easier to find and access.

Muscles of the skeleton and skull (BPL 1802: 24)

From etchings with deformed vertebrae and beautifully upholstered anatomical atlases to colorful drawings of all kinds of organs, both old and modern. The top-notch collection of anatomical drawings of the UBL offers an overview of three centuries of Leiden medical art on paper. Well-known anatomists such as Bernard Siegfried Albinus, Gerard Sandifort and Andreas Bonn made drawings or had them made by professional draughtsmen, such as Jan Wandelaar, Abraham Delfos or, in the twentieth century, H.G. Wetselaar or J. Tinkelenberg.

The entire human body is represented in almost countless drawings, bones and organs, healthy and sick, the development of the fetus, congenital abnormalities, every part of the human body is represented. But also less obvious subjects such as anthropological drawings or animals, which were often studied for comparison with the human body. The unbroken series of drawings from 1700 to the present provides a unique and fascinating picture of the development, technique and functions of anatomical drawings. And of their beauty. Because despite the sometimes less-than-pleasant subjects, the drawings are often beautiful to see.


The Europeana platform shares and promotes digitised European cultural heritage, for use by heritage enthusiasts, professionals, educators and researchers. By sharing this heritage, the platform provides the basis for new perspectives, inspiration and open conversations about history and culture: access to primary source material. Discover art, books, music, video, newspapers, archaeology, fashion, science, sports and much more in a database with millions of items from dozens of European heritage institutions. Europeana is funded by the European Union's Connecting Europe Facility.

Van kluis naar kussen – Anatomische tekeningen

In the (Dutch language) talk show 'Van kluis naar kussen' about the collection of anatomical drawings, Garrelt Verhoeven talked to Pancras Hogendoorn, professor of pathology and dean at the LUMC, Paul Dijstelberge, curator and assistant professor of Book Studies at the UvA, Anne Wellink, student of Art History and Jef Schaeps, curator of Prints and Drawings at the UBL. In the show, the online exhibition Anatomische tekeningen: een drietal visies was also launched.

Due to the selected cookie settings, we cannot show this video here.

Watch the video on the original website or

Digital Collections

Last year, the UBL made the collection of anatomical drawings available through the Leiden Digital Collections. All the digitised heritage and born-digital material created by the UBL can be found on this platform. Much of the digitised material is published under a CC-BY license, which means the material can be used by anyone. Many of the documents can be viewed with the Leiden IIIF Advanced Viewer. For an optimal user experience in Digital Collections, users can view the Digital Collections instructional videos.

This website uses cookies.  More information.