Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Magnificent Collection of the Museum Boerhaave, Leiden

I have just processed a batch of photographs from two recent trips to one of my favorite museums in the world, the venerable Boerhaave of Leiden, NL. The museum's collection magnificently demonstrates the richness of the history of medicine, anatomy and science as it played itself out in the Netherlands. Some of my particular favorite displays: An assortment of incredibly life-like, thoughtful, and uncanny wet preparations (circa 1730) from the collection of famed anatomist Bernardus Siegfried Albinus, (best remembered for his majestically illustrated monumental tome Tabulae sceleti et musculorum corporis humani):

A recreation of the Leiden anatomical theatre as it looked in the 17th Century (as memorialized in W. Swanenburg's 1610 engraving; see following image) complete with historically-accurate allegorically composed skeletons and a glossary of the Latin memorial phrases the banners they hold:

And loads of other wonderful odds and ends from the history of science and medicine including ancient skeletal material:

an impressive collection of recently refurbished Auzoux models:

Anatomically oriented artworks such as this 1803 watercolor "Petrus Koning with his Master" by J.H. Prins (as featured in a previous post):

And elegant natural history artifacts, such as this butterfly cabinet, attributed to "Sepp," from 1760:

These images are just the tip of the iceberg; you can see many more photos (and find out a great deal of information about them all) by clicking here; you can also view larger versions of the images by clicking on them. Photo-collections of similar museums can be viewed here. You can visit the Boerhaave website by clicking here.


Rosel said...

Wow, that hand is really quite scary and beautiful.

I really must go to this museum.

dorkas said...

this is magnificent indeed! thanks for sharing these incredible photos. can't wait to go there some day.

Kirsty Hall said...

I've always wanted to go there. Can I ask you a question. I've always wondered exactly what it is that the little arm is holding? Could you tell when you were photographing it?

JE said...

Hi Kirsty; here is what the exhibit label says: "Child's arm, holding the eye's vascular tissue. Prepared by Bernardus Siegfried Albinus, 1730"


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nice blog! You made really beautiful pictures!
Hope to meet you some day in person, maybe at Museum Boerhaave.

Greetings form Leiden,

Vera Bartels
Museum Boerhaave

JE said...

Hi Vera

Thank you! I love your museum. I expect I will be there again someday soon and if so, I will stop by and say hello.