Showing posts with label popular anatomy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label popular anatomy. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Museo Roca, The Parade of Monsters, and Spanish Popular Anatomical Museums at The Barcelona Congress for Curious People!

Last week, we celebrated day one of the Barcelona Congress for Curious People with a special "Medicine and Science in Old Barcelona" walking tour; it featured a variety of anatomically-themed lectures, including one in the astounding 18th Century Royal Academy of Medicine's Anatomical Theatre, and another by Enric H. March--author of the wonderful (but sadly Catalan language only) blog Bereshit--on the history of popular anatomical museums in Barcelona such as the Museo Roca and its "Parade of Monsters."

March explained to me that he became interested in popular anatomical museums when he happened upon some ephemera related to The Museo Roca at a local antique shop in 2008. He has since done a great deal of research, including some in tandem with Alfons Zarzoso--curator of the Museu d'Història de la Medicina de Catalunya--who was the first to introduce me to the topic many years ago. We ended up featuring a number of pieces from this collection for the Wellcome Collection's 2009 exhibition Exquisite Bodies: or the Curious and Grotesque History of the Anatomical Model.

El Periódico, a much read Spanish newspaper, ran a lovely piece about our day of anatomy, featuring an interview with March about his work, popular anatomical museums in general and the Museo Roca; you can see the article by clicking here, or read it in English (via Google Translate, with a few of my own fine tunings) following.

Above are some images, and also an utterly mind-blowing video montage by Yolanda Fontal which March included in his talk. It features, among other things, a walk-through of the collection when it was still in private hands in Barcelona. VERY much worth a watch, but also, due to horrific diseased genitals, definitely NSFW.

If this is of interest, definitely check out Enric H. March amazing Bereshit blog by clicking here.
The Museum of Horrors
Museum Roca came to Barcelona in 1900 as a show where people queued to see naked bodies. A Belgian billionaire bought the collection and exhibits in Antwerp

Archive Museum of Roca
Diseases and newspaper. The consequences of venereal diseases were spreading to Chinatown.
Phenomena like the giant spider from Japan, the Siamese twins, monsters, real human fetuses, creepy close-ups of genitals deformed by venereal diseases. All this and many more dreadful images formed the Roca Museum, founded by Francisco Roca, a professional illusionist and promoter of shows in Carrer Nou de la Rambla 1900.

Locals lined up to see what was exhibited in those rooms: waxworks naked and slit open to show the inside of the body, and other amazing and creepy images aroused popular curiosity for the medical or educational interest. "Impressionable people should abstain from entering," warned a poster at the entrance of the museum, which years later moved to Parallel, and ended with the pieces stored for decades in a storage room.

Sale and transfer
"Francis Arellano, collector and antiques dealer, bought the entire collection. Nobody in Barcelona was interested, and they ended at the hands of a Belgian millionaire currently who currently exhibits them in his private residence in Antwerp," reveals Enric H. March, author of the blog Bereshit, yesterday during the first day of the Congress of Curious People, held until March 2 in Barcelona. He gave an illustrated lecture on the history of anatomical museums during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, notably the the Roca Museum.

"It was an exhibition of wax figures depicting the human body, its physiology in health and also ravaged bycertain diseases, especially venereal ones," explains March." It was the time when the scientific expositions revealed, and museums began to exhibit what until then were private collections. Between 1849 and 1938, there were 26 anatomical collections on view in Barcelona." March is particularly interested in the Roca Museum's sociological aspect, wherein the popular of such museum rose along with a more general interest in health and hygiene.

The museum was founded Roca supported by the gentry, but soon become a popular show."Went into decline when the film came to Barcelona," he says. No longer interested or famous anatomical Venus, who not only showed their female sexual organs, pubic hair also." Something unthinkable in any graphic expression of the time, even in artistic representations."

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Trip to the 19th Century Popular Anatomical Museum: "La leçon d'hygiène," Félicien Rops, Late 19th Century

Whilst doing research in the wonderful and amazing Wellcome Library in London last week, I came upon a mention of the wonderful and underknown painting shown above, "la leçon d'hygiène" by Belgian decadent artist Félicien Rops. The painting is a rare fine-art depiction of a visit to a 19th century popular anatomical museum. I could find out precious little about it, but Wikimedia claims it is in a private collection and was painted between 1878 and 1881.

If anyone knows anything more about it, please email me at morbidanatomy [at] I also highly recommend that you click on the image to see larger, finer version.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tomorrow Night at Observatory : "Exquisite Bodies: or the Curious and Grotesque History of the Anatomical Model" with the Wellcome's Kate Forde

Tomorrow night at Observatory, join Kate Forde--curator at the amazing Wellcome Collection in London--to learn
about the rise and fall of the popular anatomical museum in 19th century Europe as detailed in The Wellcome’s recent ‘Exquisite Bodies’ exhibition. Long-time readers might recall this blog's extensive coverage of the exhibit, for which I served as curatorial adviser and designer. Images above all depict artifacts included in the exhibition.

You can find out more about the show here, here and here and see a preview of the lecture here.

Full details below; this is going to be a truly stellar event; hope to see you there!
Exquisite Bodies: or the Curious and Grotesque History of the Anatomical Model
An illustrated lecture by Wellcome Collection Curator Kate Forde
Date: Thursday, August 26
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $5
Presented by Morbid Anatomy

Tonight, Kate Forde of London’s Wellcome Collection will deliver an illustrated lecture detailing the rise and fall of the popular anatomical museum in 19th century Europe as detailed in The Wellcome’s recent ‘Exquisite Bodies’ exhibition.

The ‘Exquisite Bodies’ exhibition, which was curated with the assistance of Morbid Anatomy’s Joanna Ebenstein, was inspired by the craze for anatomy museums and their artifacts–particularly wax anatomical models–in 19th century Europe. In London, Paris, Brussels and Barcelona displays of wax models became popular with visitors seeking an unusual afternoon’s entertainment. The public were invited to learn about the body’s internal structure, its reproductive system and its vulnerability to disease–especially the sexually transmitted kind–through displays that combined serious science with more than a touch of prurience and horror.

At a time when scandal surrounded the practice of dissection, the medical establishment gave these collections of human surrogates a cautious welcome; yet only a few decades later they fell into disrepute, some even facing prosecution for obscenity. This talk will trace the trajectory of these museums in a highly illustrated lecture featuring many of the historical artifacts featured in the show.

To find out more about the exhibition ‘Exquisite Bodies,’ click here and here.

Kate Forde is Curator of Temporary Exhibitions at the Wellcome Collection, London. She is interested in the role of museums in the shaping of cultural memory and in the display of fine art within science-based institutions. Her current research is taking her from the great dust-heaps of Victorian London to Staten Island’s landfill Fresh Kills for an exhibition with the working title ‘Dirt’. You can see a preview of tonight's lecture by clicking here.
You can find out more about this presentation here; As mentioned above, you can find out more about the exhibition here, here and here and see a preview of the lecture here. You can get directions to Observatory--which is next door to the Morbid Anatomy Library (more on that here)--by clicking here. You can find out more about Observatory here, join our mailing list by clicking here, and join us on Facebook by clicking here.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Nineteenth-Century Wax Model Exhibited by Jean-Martin Charcot from the Salpêtrière (Addendum to Previous Post) addition there were two special exhibits. The renowned neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1893) brought over from Paris a life-size wax model of a recumbent woman with locomotor ataxy and disordered joints, together with her preserved skeleton, illustrating one of Charcot's many clinical discoveries; and Jonathan Hutchinson, the chairman of the Museum Committee, organized an "Exhibition of Living Patients"...
Morbid Anatomy reader Alexis Kinloch just this morning sent me an article that, synchronicitously (is that a word?), featured a photograph of the very wax model described in today's earlier Morbid Anatomy post "The Exhibition of Living Patients, 1881 London, England," as detailed in the above epigraph excerpted from that post.

The caption to the image reads: "Nineteenth-Century wax model of a hysteric from the Salpêtrière" (photo: archives de l'Assistance publique); Click on image to see larger version. You can see the specific reference to the waxwork in the epigraph above; You can read the entire original post from which this excerpt was drawn by clicking here. The article showcasing the image is entitled “Effroyable Réalisme”: Wax, Femininity, and the Madness of Realist Fantasies" and was written by Mary Hunter of McGill University and included in the Canadian Art Review (RACAR); to find out more about the journal, click here.

Thanks so very much, Alixis, for sending this along!

"The Exhibition of Living Patients, 1881" London, England

I just came across a really fascinating entry on the Wellcome Library blog about a sort of temporary museum put together for an 1881 London medical conference that featured the exhibition of living patients. One especially intriguing excerpt reads:
The organizers of the Congress decided to include among the attractions a museum in which specimens of one sort or another could be shown. These were mainly drawings, photographs and casts, but in addition there were two special exhibits. The renowned neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1893) brought over from Paris a life-size wax model of a recumbent woman with locomotor ataxy and disordered joints, together with her preserved skeleton, illustrating one of Charcot's many clinical discoveries; and Jonathan Hutchinson, the chairman of the Museum Committee, organized an "Exhibition of Living Patients".

The Exhibition of Living Patients was something of an experiment, and it turned out to be a victim of its own success. It was allotted one of two rooms (the museum room and the boardroom) of the Geological Society, one of the Learned Societies which have been housed since 1874 in magnificent buildings around the courtyard of Burlington House on Piccadilly.

According to Hutchinson there was "confusion and crowding … Our exhibition was more popular than we had expected: every morning at the hour announced, the room filled. The weather chanced to be very hot [this was the first week of August], and as the room looked into Piccadilly, it was exceedingly noisy." One of the reasons for the noise was that, while the hubbub of Piccadilly entered through the open windows, not only did the doctors presenting their patients have to speak over it but at the same time visitors were continually jostling in and out of the crowded room. [1]

For those who could get near it, the exhibition was evidently quite a sight. Beneath the chandeliers in the fine rooms sat seven patients with leprosy, four of them supplied by Hutchinson. Six patients with diseases designated as myxoedema sat in a row and "the peculiarities of their features, and the sameness in their peculiarities, became very conspicuous"...
You can read the entire post, and find out much more, by clicking here. You can find out more about the utterly amazing Wellcome Library--which I spent many happy hours in during my last visit to London--by clicking here. All images are sourced from the original post, and are, in the words of the post, "believed to be strays from Jonathan Hutchinson's 'Clinical Museum', though their connection with Hutchinson is at present only circumstantial;" Captions read: Paintings commissioned by Sir Jonathan Hutchinson, ca. 1891-1906. no. 18.; Top image: "A man with Lupus erythematosus. Watercolour by Mabel Green, 1902." Bottom image: The shin of a boy with a rash; rolled trouser-leg and sock in place. Watercolour by Mabel Green, 1896.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Exqusite Bodies" Press

The preview for the exhibit "Exquisite Bodies" at the Wellcome Collection last night was fantastic. So is the onslaught of press to greet my slightly hung-over self this morning. Here are 2 of my favorites thus far: the audio slide-show featuring narration by curator Kate Forde on the BBC website (click here) and the review in The Londonist which ends with the line "Gruesomely glorious stuff and a must-see for anyone without syphilis" (click here.) Check 'em out! Not quite as good as seeing the exhibition in person (more about that here), but a good start.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tomorrow is the Opening Night of "Exquisite Bodies" at the Wellcome Collection!

I got a sneak peak of the Wellcome Collection's upcoming "Exquisite Bodies" exhibition yesterday and can assure you that it is indeed quite marvelous! The preview of the show is tomorrow evening; it will be open to the public beginning the following day, Thursday July 30th.

To get a sense of just how marvelous this exhibition is, check out the article "Graphic and Ghoulish: The Wellcome's Cadaverous Exquisite Bodies Show"--which describes the exhibition as "Part fairground attraction, part science lesson"-- and the accompanying photo gallery featured in today's Guardian. The images you see above--drawn from this gallery--are just the tip of the iceberg of what you'll find there! And, of course, if you can, you absolutely must see this exhibition in person. Even these wonderful photos fail to do justice to the artifacts and the experience of viewing them in the lush Victorian parlour-inspired Wellcome installation.

Click here to see the article, here to see the photo gallery (from which I've drawn these images), and here to find out more about the exhibition.

Friday, July 17, 2009

"Exquisite Bodies: or the Curious and Grotesque History of the Anatomical Model," Exhibition, July 30 - October 18, Wellcome Collection, London

[the] exhibition "Exquisite Bodies: or the Curious and Grotesque History of the Anatomical Model" is inspired by the craze for anatomy museums during the 19th century, when displays of wax models conveyed information about the human body to wider audiences than ever before. ‘Exquisite Bodies’ includes a superb variety of historic anatomical waxes, from the academic to the fantastical, examining how they circulated in contexts as disparate as the laboratory and the fairground. --Kate Forde, Curator, the Wellcome Collection
The Wellcome Collection--by far my favorite contemporary medical museum--is launching an incredibly exciting new exhibition, which I have had the honor and delight of participating in as curatorial adviser and graphic designer. Thus the long gap in my blog posting, for which I apologize.

Entitled "Exquisite Bodies: or the Curious and Grotesque History of the Anatomical Model" and running from July 30 to October 18 2009, this exhibition takes as subject the under-appreciated and rarely glossed history of the popular anatomical display (see recent MA posts here, here, here, here and here). Popular anatomical displays were a kind of popular, spectacular, democratized version of scholarly or professional medical museums. Often exhibiting objects intended for (or perhaps even once presented in) an academic context, these displays--which were extremely popular in the 19th Century and could be widely found at fairgrounds and in "popular anatomical museums" until the beginning of the 20th Century-blended education and entertainment, public health and spectacle, scholarship and prurience for a mass audience.

The centerpiece of these displays was usually the Anatomical Venus--a beautiful, life-like woman, generally made of wax, often life-sized, and demonstrating--upon the delicate removal of her breastplate--the mysteries of the inner female body (see 5th image down; more on this concept here and here). This central Venus was generally supplemented by waxes and other sorts of models, wet preparations, and illustrations parsing topics such as the ideal and compromised female body, the ravages of sexually transmitted diseases, the aberrant body (ie. freaks; see bearded lady, 2nd image), the mysteries of generation, and the ill effects of spermatorhea (aka "abnormally frequent emission of the semen without copulation", seen as a real public health issue at the time).

The exhibition will bring together an amazing collection of models--many of them breathtakingly exquisite waxes--and ephemera never seen together under one roof. Objects have been drawn from--in the proud tradition of the popular anatomical displays to which this exhibition pays tribute--both academic and popular collections. Objects from The Gordon Museum of London, The Museum Dr Guislain of Ghent, Musée de la Médicine in Brussels, the University of Cambridge, the London Science Museum, and the Wellcome Library will be featured.

Here's more about the exhibition and the phenomenon of popular medical displays, from the Wellcome Collection press release:
In the 19th century, despite the best efforts of body snatchers, the demand from medical schools for fresh cadavers far outstripped the supply. One solution to this gruesome problem came in the form of lifelike wax models. These models often took the form of alluring female figures that could be stripped and split into different sections. Other models were more macabre, showing the body ravaged by 'social diseases' such as venereal disease, tuberculosis and alcohol and drug addiction.

With their capacity to titillate as well as educate, anatomical models became sought-after curiosities; displayed not only in dissecting rooms but also in sideshows and the curiosity cabinets of wealthy Victorian gentlemen. For a small admission fee, visitors seeking an unusual afternoon's entertainment could visit displays of these strange dolls in London, Paris, Brussels and Barcelona.
This show promises to be truly marvelous in every sense of the word. If you find yourself in London between July 30th and October 18th, be sure to check it out! And drop me a line and let me know what you think!

To find out more about the exhibition, click here. To visit the Wellcome image gallery related to the exhibition (from where many of the above images are drawn), click here. To play with the Wellcome interactive Anatomical Venus (!!!), click here.

All of the above images are of objects that will be included in the exhibition. Captions, top to bottom:

1) Head exhibiting syphilis, c.1900, Collection Family Coolen, Antwerp/Museum Dr Guislain, Ghent, Belgium

2) Bearded lady, Undated (c. 1900), Collection Family Coolen, Antwerp/Museum Dr Guislain, Ghent, Belgium

3) Extraction of the placenta: Plaster relief from a series illustrating the stages of childbirth, Undated (c.1900) Collection Family Coolen, Antwerp/Museum Dr Guislain, Ghent, Belgium

4) Anatomical female figure, Germany, undated (1600-1800), Ivory, The Science Museum, London

5) Wax Venus - anatomical figure made in Florence, 1771-1800, Courtesy of the Science Museum, London

6) Poster from the Roca collection. Collection Family Coolen, Antwerp/Museum Dr Guislain, Ghent, Belgium

Monday, June 8, 2009

Upcoming Observatory Presentation: "An Iconography of the Industrial Body," Michael Sappol, Friday June 19th, 7:30 PM

An Iconography of the Industrial Body: Fritz Kahn, Popular Medical Illustration and the Visual Rhetoric of Modernity
A presentation by Michael Sappol, author of A Traffic of Dead Bodies
Friday June 19th
7:30 PM

This talk focuses on the publications of Fritz Kahn (1888-1968), a German-Jewish physician. Between 1920 and 1950, Kahn was a widely-read author of books and articles for the general public on medicine, health and science. His principal works, Das Leben des Menschen [The Life of Man] (5 vols.; Stuttgart, 1922-31) and Der Mensch: Gesund und Krank [Man: In Health and Sickness] (2 vols.; Zürich, 1939) feature thousands of illustrations. Influenced by Dada, neue Sachlichkeit, surrealism, futurism, Bauhaus, constructivism, Art Deco, neo-classicism, comic strips, photomontage, and advertising graphics, Kahn, and the artists working under his direction, visually explained how the human body works, based on the findings of modern biological science. At the same time, the images refer back to the chaos, violence, impasses, pleasures, dreams, and technological and sociocultural ambitions of early and mid-20th-century Germany. Kahn deployed a visual vocabulary of modernism to figure industrial modernity within the body and the body within industrial modernity. The result was a corpus of images and tropes which imagined a new body for the modern age.

Image: Fritz Kahn, Das Leben des Menschen 5 (1931): 53.
Retinal imaging and halftone printing compared.
Artist: Roman Rechn.

Observatory is located at 543 Union Street at Nevins.

Enter Observatory via Proteus Gowanus Gallery
R or M train to Union Street in Brooklyn: Walk two long blocks on Union (towards the Gowanus Canal) to Nevins Street. 543 Union Street is the large red brick building on right. Go right on Nevins and left down alley through large black gates. Gallery is the second door on the left.

F or G train to Carroll Street: Walk one block to Union. Turn right, walk two long blocks on Union towards the Gowanus Canal, cross the bridge, take left on Nevins, go down the alley to the second door on the left.

More information here on the Observatory website; you can visit that by clicking here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

‘The Late Sarti's New Florentine Anatomical Model’, Notice, Lincolnshire, England, c. 1854

From today's guided perusing of the ever-astounding Science Museum's "Brought To Life" online exhibition. Full caption reads:
The exhibition of a female anatomical figure made from wax at Boston, Lincolnshire, England, was used to educate the general public. Admission cost 1 shilling. The model could be taken apart to show the internal organs and muscles. The organs were modelled to show different things; for instance the liver showed “the effects produced by Intemperance and Excesses in Eating”. The lectures aimed to help women take better care of the sick. “Know Thyself” was a common phrase associated with the exhibition of anatomical wax, again reinforcing the educational benefit. But there was some controversy over the display, especially as the models were shown naked. For this reason men and women had different viewing days. The wax model was created by Antonio Sarti (d. 1851), who opened a public anatomical wax museum in London in 1839.
Click here to peruse the site for yourself; click above image to see much larger copy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Japanese "Pregnancy Dolls," 19th Century

Julia Solis just sent me a most fascinating link to a Pink Tentacle blog post detailing a chapter in Japanese popular anatomical display called the "Pregnancy Doll." In the words of the post, which was sourced from a July 2001 issue of Geijutsu Shincho magazine:
In the 18th and 19th centuries, sideshow carnivals known as misemono were a popular form of entertainment for the sophisticated residents of Edo (present-day Tokyo). The sideshows featured a myriad of educational and entertaining attractions designed to evoke a sense of wonder and satisfy a deep curiosity for the mysteries of life. One popular attraction was the pregnant doll. Although it is commonly believed that these dolls were created primarily to teach midwives how to deliver babies, evidence suggests they were also used for entertainment purposes. For example, records from 1864 describe a popular show in Tokyo’s Asakusa entertainment district that educated audiences about the human body. The show featured a pregnant doll whose abdomen could be opened to reveal fetal models depicting the various stages of prenatal development...
This is especially fascinating as I have read quite a bit about Western examples of popular anatomical display (see some examples here, here and here) but had been unaware of an Eastern equivalent. Most fascinating! If any readers have any more information on this topic or further links to suggest, I would love to hear about it.

You can read the full article and see larger copies of these images (highly suggested!) on Pink Tentacle by clicking here. For more on the fascinating topic of misemono, click here. Thanks so much, Julia, for sending this along!

All images from the original post. Top to bottom, per original post: 19th-century obstetric training doll - Wada Museum; “Light-skinned” pregnant doll - Edo-Tokyo Museum; “Dark-skinned” pregnant doll - Edo-Tokyo Museum; Baby doll - Edo-Tokyo Museum; Fetus model set (circa 1877) - Toyota Collection.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pacific Museum of Anatomy and Science, Zymoglyphic Museum Curator's Web Log

The Pacific Museum of Anatomy and Science, located on Pine Street between Montgomery and Sansome. This educational institution, "For Gentlemen Only", specialized in wax models of instructive anatomy, most of whom were female, along with a collection of Egyptian mummies and preserved anatomical curiosities. It was a place where men fancying themselves refined gentlemen could gaze in detail on female anatomy in a civilized manner, foregoing the whorehouses, back alleys, and dangerous hellholes of the nearby Barbary Coast.

The Zymoglyphic Museum Curator's Web Log has just posted a really nice story on The Pacific Museum of Anatomy and Science, a popular anatomical museum located in San Francisco from the 19th until the early 20th century. If the above quotation piques your interest, I highly recommend you check out the entire fascinating post (click here) and also the similarly themed "'Morbid curiosity': The Decline and Fall of the Popular Anatomical Museum" by Michael Sappol (click here).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Lessons in anatomy made easy: Anatomical models in scientific and cultural context," November 6th and 7th, Leiden, The Netherlands

If any of you are around Leiden, the Netherlands, over the next few days, I highly recommend you poke you head in at an international conference on anatomical models called "Lessons in anatomy made easy: Anatomical models in scientific and cultural context." This conference is being held at the wonderful Boerhaave Museum to celebrate the newly completed restoration of the museum's expansive collection of Dr. Auzoux papier-mâché anatomical models. The conference begins at 9 AM tomorrow, and will include a number of speakers from many communities presenting on a variety of topics clustered around the central idea of the art, history, care, and culture of anatomical models. I will be delivering a paper on the art and history of anatomical models as part of this conference at 10:30 on Friday, November 7th.

More on the conference here. More on Auzoux and his work here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Popular Anatomy, 19th Century Style

It is, indeed, not such a collection as the timid would care to visit at midnight, and alone. Fancy the pale moonlight lighting up with a bluish tinge, the blanched skeletons and grinning skulls — the same moon that saw, in many a case, the death-blow given, or the bullet pierce. The thought is not a comforting one, and those fancies would not be calculated, at such a time, to inspire courage. But in broad daylight, with the sun shining outside, and brightening up, with its tinge of life and activity, the tessellated floor, with the noise and traffic of the street outside, and the hum and murmur of numerous clerks and attendants inside, even those of timid proclivities do not then hesitate to inspect closely and with curiosity the objects which, twelve hours later, when the building is dark and deserted, they would scarce care to approach.

Both the text (from a 19th Century journal) and image above are from a recent fascinating post about the history of the National Museum of Health and Medicine, back when it was called The Army Medical Museum and was housed in the Ford Theatre--yes, the same one which hosted the assasination of President Lincoln! Back then, it was a popular museum attracting throngs of respectable, middle-class victorians (see above). Check out the whole post (and see more images) on the always engrossing Bottled Monsters blog.

Friday, July 25, 2008

"Anatomie des Vanités" Exhibit, 2008

The Erasmus House in Brussels, Belgium is staging an amazing looking exhibition called "Anatomie des Vanités" that will be on view until September 16th. The exhibition celebrates the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Erasmus Museum and is organized around a 17th century anatomical Eve (see top photo above), belonging to an unspecified private collection. Modern artists such as Jan Fabre, Marie-Jo Lafontaine and Aïda Kazarian also take part in this project.

From the museum flyer:
The exhibition includes animals, Narwhal tusks, an anatomical Eve, a whale's penis, 'vanities', turned ivories, testimony to the masters' virtuosity an of the taste for curiosities that could be found in the 'Wunderkammern' of the 16th and 17th centuries. These historic objects are contrasted with contemporary art (Jan fabre, Marie-Jo Lafontaine) and with paintings of this Museum (Jerome Bosh, Quentin Massys, Hans Holbein). The artist Aida Kazarian has helped redesign the layout of the Museum, on the 75th anniversary of the foundation of Erasmus House. The highlight of the exhibition is a pregnant anatomical Eve, coming from a private collection. This exhibition on vanity, though in jubilant fashion, shows many representations of death, at the confluence of the traditional 'memento mori' of the Middles Ages and the birth of scientific thought in the curiosity cabinets.

All above images from the museum website; you can find out more about the exhibition there. You can also view a video of the installation here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

"Lessons in Anatomy Made Easy: Anatomical Models in Scientific and Cultural Context," Conference, 2008

The Museum Boerhaave in Leiden, The Netherlands, is hosting an international conference on anatomical models in historical and cultural context. The conference will be held on November 6th and 7th, and abstracts (if you're interested in presenting a paper) need to be submitted by August 1. The website is interested in submissions from historians of science, art historians and conservators with an interest in anatomical models, whether made from wax, plaster, papier-mâché or glass.

More information here. Via Biomedicine on Display.

Image from Anatomical Theatre exhibition.