Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dream Anatomy

Dream Anatomy,  Charles Errard
The study of human anatomy has long been a juncture of art and science. The dissection of cadavers, at times forbidden by the church and state, has been of fascination to artists as much as to those endeavoring to figure out how this wondrous collection of bones, flesh and fluids works.

Just as the scientific or medical examination of the body has been of interest to artists working to represent the human form, so artists have played a vital role in recording and making clear those discoveries, a tradition carried on today in the specialties of medical and scientific illustration.

Dream Anatomy is a special online feature from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, originally accompanying a physical exhibit at the National Library of Medicine, which explores this relationship and the history of anatomical representation, including a fascinating gallery of anatomical art.

Many of the pieces, like the image above, Anatomia per uso et intelligenza del disegno ricercata…, are collaborative works between anatomists and artists, in this case anatomist Bernardino Genga and artist Charles Errard.

The exhibit includes a broad range of images, both in the gallery and accompanying articles, from modern anatomical drawing, Renaissance, Baroque and Victorian artists, as well as Aboriginal “skeleton” drawings and contemporary gallery of children’s drawings of “Under Your Skin“.

They missed the chance, though, to include some of the representations of “spiritual” anatomy, as seen in the work of visionary painters like Alex Grey and Mati Klarwein.

In the image above, I love the foreground figure, apparently an angel, with wing bones connected to the scapulae.

[Link via BoingBoing]

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