Adventures in Human Anatomy

Published January 8, 2010 by Molly

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Like the concept of infinity or the size of an XL fountain drink purchased at a movie theater, the human body is one of those entities that provokes thoughts of awe and astonishment whenever one stops to dwell upon it. It’s fortunate, then, that a book exists to satisfy our curiosity about the mechanics and mysteries of human anatomy (with lotsa pictures, naturally).

Human Anatomy: From the Renaissance to the Digital Age covers the history of anatomical illustration over five centuries from Leonardo da Vinci to Vesalius to Bernard Siegfried Albinus to Charles Estienne. It even includes illustrations considered too crazeballs for their own time, including Thomas Eakins’ The Gross Clinic (you can google that one; FYI it is gross.)

If the images are occasionally nauseating (many of them owe their fine detail to cadavers dissected for the purpose of drawing), they’re also never less than immaculately prepared. Nice to know that there were 16th century doctors sawing corpses in half so that we could all know exactly what was inside us, no? Thanks, guys.

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