Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jan Ladmiral (1698 - 1773)

I just discovered the amazing anatomical mezzotints of 18th Century artist Jan Ladmiral (see above) via, of all things, a humorous blog post flaming Congressman Anthony Weiner on a blog called Booktryst. The work is gorgeous, and remind me of another of my favorite anatomical artists, Jacques Fabian Gautier d'Agoty; see this recent post for more on that.

A bit about Jan Ladmiral, from the original Booktryst post:
Jan Ladmiral (1698 - 1773) was a pupil and assistant to the great anatomical illustrator Jacob Christoph Le Blon (1670 - 1741). Afterward, Ladmiral, apparently, presumed ownership of Le Blon's secret invention for coloring mezzotint engravings, a process using three different impressions of primary colors (blue, yellow, and red) for one image and thus able to produce different color values without the use of black.

"Ladmiral offered his services in the making of colored anatomical representations to the famous anatomist, Albinus in Leyden. This anatomist put his (Ladmiral's] invention to the test and even permitted him to use two posthumous drawings by Ruysch…" (Choulant and Streeter, History and Bibliography of Anatomic Illustration, p. 267).

Between 1736 and 1741 Ladmiral created six colored mezzotints of anatomical subjects that made his reputation and remain highly regarded as amongst the finest examples ever produced. Three of those mezzotints are seen here. The initial print in the series, Muscularis mucosae of the intestine, from 1736, is a milestone, the first use of color printing in a medical or scientific book...
You can read the entire piece in context by clicking here.

Images top to bottom:
  1. Brain of an Unborn Child (1738)
  2. Muscularis mucosae of the intestine (1736)
  3. Human penis (1741)

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