Dream Anatomy

posted in: Anatomy | 0

Dream Anatomy was an exhibit at the National Library of Medicine in 2002-03, and showcased their vast collection of historical and visionary anatomical artworks. Visionary anatomy, or simply anatomical art and illustration is a great passion of mine, and I’m excited that the exhibit was catalogued on the NLM’s website.

In 1552, Eustachi commissioned a stylized series of anatomical plates featuring whimsically posed figures. In this 18th-century edition, the coloring scheme gives the men a harlequin-like appearance.


Here’s an excerpt from the curators:

“The interior of our bodies is hidden to us. What happens beneath the skin is mysterious, fearful, amazing. In antiquity, the body’s internal structure was the subject of speculation, fantasy, and some study, but there were few efforts to represent it in pictures. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century-and the cascade of print technologies that followed-helped to inspire a new spectacular science of anatomy, and new spectacular visions of the body. Anatomical imagery proliferated, detailed and informative but also whimsical, surreal, beautiful, and grotesque — a dream anatomy that reveals as much about the outer world as it does the inner self… “

Click here to take a fascinating tour of history and the body through these gorgeous illustrations