Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Thanks to James Edmonson, curator of the Dittrick Medical History Center in Cleveland, Ohio, for sending this really wonderful image of a dissection scene my way. He came across the lithograph at Librairie Alain Brieux; it now resides in his collection.
Mr. Edmonson is seeking further information about this image. If anyone has ever seen this image, knows of an original drawing or painting of it, or has any other information, please let us know, either by email or by a comment to this post. Thanks!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Check out Forever Skull, an interesting article about the use of skulls in design from the AIGA website. Thanks to Susannah McDonald for passing it on. And my apologies for being a poor blogger of late. In Belgium for the Confronting Mortality conference, which has been absolutely amazing. More on that later when I have regained the energy necessary to say anything intelligent about it.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
A disturbing and somewhat prurient image from the Corbis website. Title reads, simply, "Autopsy."
Friday, October 12, 2007
"This gruesome figure was cast from the corpse of a murderer, taken straight from the gallows to be nailed to a cross and flayed in order to settle an artistic debate. Three Royal Academicians... conducted this experiment to prove their belief that most depictions of the Crucifixion were anatomically incorrect. " --The Royal Academy of Arts Website
A nice, visceral intersection of religion and anatomy in one lovely object. Entitled "Anatomical Crucifixion (James Legg)," this plaster cast of murderer James Legg was made in 1801 by an unknown maker. Find out more about the history of this remarkable object here. Via Mutant Sloth.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
What a wonderful website is "Mirror World: Photographs of Unknown Origin." Filled with enigmatic unlabeled photos and an evocative soundtrack, one could easily get lost in there. Here is a selection of a few of my favorite images, but check them out in context; they are much more moving in their origial habitat (I am especially exctited by the shot from what looks like the Visible Man factory.) Thanks to Herbert Pfostl, of the similarly evocative and mysterious Blind Pony Books and Paper Graveyard websites, for sending this link along.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I attended (and photographed, until reprimanded) the Christie's "Anatomy as Art" auction last week. By the time I arrived, rather late in the auction, only 25-30 bidders were in attendance, though there was a full and very active phone bank in effect. When the beautiful Fritz Kahn poster sold ($3,750), the auctioneer adlibbed to the buyer, "you won't regret it." The coveted Ruysch book went for $6,250, the D'Agoty's for $39,400 and $67,000, and the Durer went for a whopping $73,000. The anatomical waxes, alas, did not sell at all. You can find out more details about the auction sales here.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
I visited the preview for the Anatomy as Art auction at Christie's today (see previous postings here and here for more information.) It was really rather breathtaking to see all those beautiful old books, anatomical waxes, and framed prints in one modest room. The collection was truly awe-inspiring, and the room was filled wth a fascinating assortment of people--collectors with varying accents earnestly paging through huge ancient portfolios, a slew of young goth-esque kids with their mother(?) paging through same, and a bunch of young teens oohing and ahhing over the stereoscopic slides. I had the opportunity page through Frederik Ruysch's amazing Thesaurus animalium primus... Het eerste cabinet der dieren... from 1704, within which I saw many really incredible engravings I had never seen before; Too bad its estimated to go for $6,000 - $8,000...
Sadly, I did not have my camera, but Melanie at Christie's kindly took these snap shots for me (thanks Melanie!) They give you an idea, but do not nearly do it justice. I suppose the catalogue is all I will be able to afford, but it is a pretty great consolation prize, featuring many of the most memorable images beautifully reproduced explicated by excellent scholarly notations by Jeremy Norman.
The auction itself is tomorrow at 10:00 AM. I plan to spend my lunch hour there; it promises to be an interesting scene. I recommend any people in the area to do the same! The collection is truly a wonder.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Long before Cabinets of Curiosity made their way to Barney's, Damien Hirst unveiled his diamond-encrusted skull, and Marilyn Manson made news for his compulsive collecting of dead children, there was Obscura Antiques and Oddities. Less a store than a museum you can shop at, Obscura, located in the East Village, is, by far, my favorite shop in New York City.
Stock varies, but on a given day, here are some things you're likely to come across: anatomical models, memorial photographs, medical art prints, taxedermied pets, shadow boxes, fraternal organization memorabilia, prosthetic limbs, victorian mourning jewelry, magic lantern slides, collections of pinned insects, funeraral ephemera, stereoscopopic cards, carnival castoffs, two headed fetal pigs, a jar of worms, corsets, top hats, glass fronted cabinets, victorian vitrines ... the list goes on. Don't be intimidated by their celebrity clientele (they feed the habits of The Sedarises and Chloë Sevigny, among others) or the uber-hip east-village customers you might see within; the proprietors are very friendly and extremely knowledgable, and you'll probably leave knowing something you didn't know before. See above photos for details of merchandise over the past few years.