Sunday, August 9, 2009

Wellcome Library: 16th C. Anatomical Fugitive Sheets, With Animations Demonstrating Functionality

The amazing Wellcome Library (which I finally had the opportunity to visit this trip to London; more on that soon) has just made their collection of 16th Century anatomical fugitive sheets available on the web. Best of all, the online versions mimic the functionality of the originals; still images are available of the prints at each level of "dissection" (as seen above); you can also watch the prints self-dissect in short, time-lapse films, demonstrating the raising and and lowering of flaps with nary a human hand in sight.

More on anatomical fugitive sheets and their history, in the words of the Wellome Libary Blog:
[Anatomical Fugitive Sheets] depict the human body through labelled illustrations, often using a three-dimensional 'pop-up' device of superimposed flaps, which can be raised in sequence to display the internal anatomy of the male or female figure. The fugitive sheet thus mimics the act of dissection. They were a popular instructional aid in the 16th century and many were produced in vernacular languages which could be read by a lay audience interested in the workings of the human body.
To read the full original post and learn more about anatomical fugitive sheets, click here. You can watch the videos by clicking here. You can view the still images by clicking here and typing in "anatomical fugitive sheet."

Image, from Wellcome Images:
L0017547 Credit: Wellcome Library, London
Anatomical fugitive sheet; female.
Hand-coloured woodcut, Anatomie tresutile pour congnoistre les parties interieures de la femme
Published: Alain de MatonniereParis circa 1560
Collection: Rare Books
Library reference no.: EPB 292/9

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