Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Modern Anatomical Venus at Leiden's Museum Boerhaave: Guest Post by Bart Grob, The Boerhaave Museum

Just a few weeks ago, the new exhibition Amazing Models, on the Emotional, Medical and Cultural History of Anatomical Models opened at Leiden's Boerhaave Museum. To commemorate the opening of this incredible looking exhibition, here is a guest post by Bart Grob, conservator and curator at that museum, about the publicity image commissioned by the exhibition seen above (top image):
Is it fashion, is it a glamor, or is it anatomy?
In fact it's all three. This modern day anatomical Venus (top image), in style of the famous anatomical models from the Viennese Josephinum museum (bottom image) is portrait of Dutch actress Georgina Verbaan.
She was photographed by Koen Hauser who has a large interest in anatomy, and is well known for this anatomy series. He combined an image of an original wax model from the Museum Boerhave collections with a glamorous photo of the model, thus reconstructing an image of the time when female anatomical models where not only about the anatomy of the body. Skilled hands of Florentine waxmodellers delivered beautiful, sensual and elegant models of the female body.
Yesterday, the 20th of November, Amazing Models, a new exhibit on the emotional, medical and cultural history of anatomical models, opened to the public at the Museum Boerhaave. To address all these different themes this reconstruction of the anatomical Venus was chosen as image for the publicity campaign. The heyday of spectacular anatomy seem to be back again!
You can find out more about this exhibition, on view until June of 2014, by clicking here. And stay tuned for news of a Morbid Anatomy Museum pop-up event series taking place in partnership with the Boerhaave Museum, the Vrolik Museum and more Netherlands-based institutions, coming soon!

Top image: Fotocredits: Koen Hauser, photography Hair and Make up, Luise van Huisstede, Model Georgina Verbaan

Bottom image: "Anatomical Venuses," Wax Models with human hair in rosewood and Venetian glass cases,The Josephinum, Workshop of Clemente Susini of Florence circa 1780s, Vienna, Austria, from The Secret Museum, by Joanna Ebenstein

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