Monday, December 15, 2008

"Figures du Corps – Une Leçon d’Anatomie aux Beaux-Arts,” Exhibition, Paris

My friend Lisa O'Sullivan just tipped me off to a wonderful looking exhibition on view at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris until January 4th: Figures du corps–Une leçon d’anatomie aux Beaux-arts (in English: Figures of the Body–An Anatomy Lesson at the Art School.)

The exhibition, which takes as its subject the "the representation of the body, its conventions and its freedoms" [from press release], presents a wide array of material, from mummies and skeletons to anatomical illustrations, arcane media, medical moulage, sculptures, and photographs.

As the press release explains:
The exhibition is made up of six sections: The heritage of the Renaissance; The taught body; The language of forms; Animal and man; Science as model; The search for movement. The exhibition offers a chronological and thematic treatment at the same time. As in the old cabinets of curiosities, it presents “naturalia” (skeletons, mummies, preserved parts) and “artificialia”, objects created by man (écorchés, mannequins, models), to which must be added moulages which are based on specimens, halfway between natural and artificial objects. In addition to these objects are many treatises and works used by artists, as well as collections of drawings and photographs.

In figures, the exhibition includes:
• 100 drawings and prints (Léonard de Vinci, Dürer, Bandinelli, Géricault, Barye, )
• 100 texts (Vitruve, Vésale, Cousin, Le Brun, Albinus, Gautier-Dagoty, Darwin)
• 120 sculptures and moulages (Michel-Angel, Bouchardon, Houdon, Salvage, Dalou, Richer,)
• 80 photographs and chronophotographs (Duchenne de Boulogne, Muybridge, Marey, Londe)
To find out more about the exhibition, visit the museum website. To see a brief video tour (with terrible background music!) of the exhibition (from which these images are drawn), click here. For those of us unable to make it to Paris before January 4th (such as myself) the catalogue, which you can order here, might have to suffice.

And thanks, Lisa, for the tip and the translations!

P.S. If anyone can provide me with photographs from the exhibition, I would be most grateful. The pickings on the internet were pretty slim, and I'm eager to see more; If you find yourself in possession of such photos and find yourself wanting to share, you can email me at Thank you!



my favorite is the first (top) pic. arm stretched in almost zombie like pose; reaching for a victim to feed upon.

RB said...

Thanks for all this information and review. You provided the best content on this topic I could find. Cheers!

Luigi said...

I've been to the exhibition, thanks to your advice, and found it really interesting. I've posted some drawings on my blog.
Thanks a lot for your work!

JE said...

Hi Luigi

Thanks for letting us know about the drawings--they're really lovely!