The Vitruvian: Uncovering the Layers of Cancer is a body of work by leading Irish artist Vincent Devine, co-created with cancer researchers and a patient partner at the UCD Conway Institute, University College Dublin.
Inspired by the iconic drawing of The Vitruvian Man by artist and scientist Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent Devine has created a striking image of an androgynous human to visually map the different perspectives and approaches that researchers use to understand cancer at molecular, cellular, tissue and human levels.
The exhibition will be on show from 14-18 November at Esker Arts Centre in Tullamore alongside events that will bring the work to life.
Since November 2022, Devine has been working with UCD cancer researchers and a patient partner to explore how cancer affects patients and their families: from molecules to cells; tissues to impacts on the whole human body; personal impact to societal impact. The core art piece depicts this journey through the body, incorporating visual scientific imagery alongside the human experience of cancer.
The exhibition will include derivative and interactive components that sit alongside the main work to delve deeper and explore specific cancer research areas. The derivative components are the artist’s interpretation of the research while the interactive components are scientific objects relating to ongoing research. Together, the work depicts the journey of cancer cells through the body alongside the human experience of cancer.
Cancer, its prevention, diagnosis and treatment are a major challenge for us as humans in society. Vincent has incorporated microscopic elements into the work in a fusion of scientific imagery reproduced in an artistic way to tell a visual story of how different parts of the body are affected by cancer. It provides an unique insight into how researchers study cancer through different perspectives and approaches alongside how patients experience this disease. – Professor William Gallagher, UCD School of Biomolecular & Biomedical Science and UCD Conway Institute
Public Talk: Wednesday 15 November
Time: 2.30pm and 5.30pm
Artist Vincent Devine, cancer researchers and patient partners will talk about the creative process and ongoing cancer research efforts. Devine will walk us through the visual imagery of the pieces, while researchers and patient partners will talk about the role they played in the creation of this work and the future they envision for cancer patients.
Admission is free. Tickets can be booked in advance at
The Vitruvian: Uncovering the Layers of Cancer is taking place as part of Science Week 2023 which runs from 12-19 November.