No, I'm not talking Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, you slavering fanboys - I'm talking about medical texts as art. Yup; as further proof that Carnacki and I were separated at birth (I don't care what the birth certificates say...), I found this absolutely cool and totally unrelated exhibition of anatomical drawings that is also hosted by NIH's National Library of Medicine (we're nothing if not a family-friendly, edu-ma-ctational kind of act here).
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.The exhibit runs the gamut from grotesque whimsy... ...to stark brutality... ...and covers (or uncovers?) pretty much everything in between. The online-only exhibition (the original ran at the NLM from October 9, 2002 to July 31, 2003) uses several centuries of manuscripts to examine the relationship between medicine and art, dissection and science, and how the manner in which these realms interact says a lot about what we are as a society as well as what we are as organisms. Religion, science, sex, death, morality, mortality; all in one neat artistic and educational package - what more could one want? And hey - there's a certain economy of motion here! You can check out Dream Anatomy while you're looking at Visible Proofs. No wasted mouse clicks here at MotHV! We're considerate that way.