Τρίτη, 9 Νοεμβρίου 2010

Creepy illustrations in old anatomy books

Bernardino Genga, (1691)
"Anatomia per Uso et Intelligenza del Disegno"

Old anatomy books have a creepy mood of death, inspired by the anatomical dissections of dead bodies and the memento mori attitude before the great rates of mortality from plagues, wars, doctors dealt with. Engravings with skeletons or bizzare flayed bodies holding their skin like a piece of sheet are quite common. Let's see some of the most famous anatomy books of the past.

Bartholini Thomae "Anatomia Reformata" (1651)


"Anatomia del corpo humano"
by Juan Valverde de Amusco (1559)


William Cowper's "Myotomia reformata" (1724)


Georg Conrad Horst's "De natura humana" (1612)


There is also a striking similarity of all the above pictures with a detail in Michelangelo's "The Last Jugdement" depicting St. Bartholomew holding his skin (his martyrdom was flaying him alive):





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