Flesh and Bones
The Art of Anatomy
by Monique Kornell
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Pub Date 01 Mar 2022 | Archive Date 11 Aug 2022
Getty Publications, Getty Research Institute
For centuries, anatomy was a fundamental component of artistic training, as artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo sought to skillfully portray the human form. In Europe, illustrations that captured the complex structure of the body—spectacularly realized by anatomists, artists, and printmakers in early atlases such as Andreas Vesalius’s De humani corporis fabrica libri septem of 1543—found an audience with both medical practitioners and artists.
Flesh and Bones examines the inventive ways anatomy has been presented from the sixteenth through the twenty-first century, including an animated corpse displaying its own body for study, anatomized antique sculpture, spectacular life-size prints, delicate paper flaps, and 3-D stereoscopic photographs. Drawn primarily from the vast holdings of the Getty Research Institute, the over 150 striking images, which range in media from woodcut to neon, reveal the uncanny beauty of the human body under the skin.
This volume is published to accompany an exhibition on view at the Getty Research Institute at the Getty Center from February 22 to July 10, 2022.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 4 members
Flesh and Bones: The Art of Anatomy is a fascinating look at how the human anatomy has been recreated for both educational and artistic purposes. And the line separating them is pretty much nonexistent.
The essays in the book do a great job of giving a history, told from various perspectives, of illustrating the body. Beliefs in the usefulness through to just how artists were required to sketch immediately from observation rather than later from memory. The catalog is both visually stunning and each item is accompanied by a short description and contextualization.
I have read a couple books recently along these lines, the art of anatomical drawings and such, and I am always amazed at what was captured fairly accurately, as well as some of the more fantastical images as well. But the history surrounding this area of art/education touches on so many other historical events and people that I think most readers with an interest in either art history or history more generally will find a lot to enjoy here.
Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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