Thursday, October 19, 2017

31 Days of Halloween - Day 19

The Anatomical Venus by Joanna Ebenstein

Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. 2016

Created as educational displays and as an anatomical alternative to dissections of actual dead bodies, the anatomical venus was a, typically, life-sized wax mannequin of a woman in repose, whose torso could be opened to reveal her inner organs, which were also often removable, down to the fetus models featured no matter whether the figure was demonstrably pregnant, or not before opening.

Whether this book should really be included here on a list of recommended Halloween reading is debatable. For some people a book full of glorious color photos of realistic wax figures with their inner structures on display would be considered a macabre text appropriate to the season. I find the models displayed alongside Ebenstein's informative text to be incredibly beautiful. I would love to have one of these on display in my own home. Whether you agree, or not, this is a gorgeous volume on a peculiar area of medical science and historical public exhibitions on the anatomical arts.

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