Tuesday, March 25, 2008
"The Anatomist (Der Anatom)," Gabriel von Max, 1869
This painting brings to mind Edgar Allen Poe's memorable quote: "the death of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world..." It seems this maxim could also--at least circa 1869-- be applied to a beautiful dead woman about to be dissected by a pensive anatomist.
Learn more about the painter, Gabriel von Max, (who studied, among other things, parapsychology, somnambulism, hypnotism, spiritism, Darwinism, asiatic philosophy, and the ideas of Schopenhauer) here. See more images of his work here and here.
Thanks to Ludmilla Jordanova, author of one of my new favorite (and recently cited) books Sexual Visions: Images of Gender in Science and Medicine Between the Eighteenth and Twentieth Centuries,for bringing this painting to my attention. Check out the book for her compelling reading of this and other dissection paintings of the 19th Century featuring beautiful cadavers.
If this topic is of interest to you, you might want to check out a recent Morbid Anatomy post about a dissection print entitled Une Fin A l’Ecole Pratique.