Introduction: Changing the Angle of Vision

in The Lady Anatomist

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780226520810
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226520841 | DOI:
Introduction: Changing the Angle of Vision

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This book modifies the monumental discrepancy between the Anna Morandi of a tenuous, 250-year succession of biographers and the woman revealed in her vibrant, three-dimensional atlas of the human body. The living eye and the intricate mechanics of sight was the focal point of Morandi's plastic survey of human anatomy. Her meticulous, verisimilar anatomical waxworks presented a foremost reinterpretation of the intersection of science and art established within the institute's walls. She created her collection for use by medical professionals and avid amateurs in the study of practical anatomy. Moreover, Morandi's wax bodies supplanted and indeed surpassed in critical ways real dissected bodies, whose defunct systems, parts, and attachments she could purify of their natural ambiguities and, using vibrant colors and three-dimensional movement, imbue with virtual life. This Introduction provides an overview of the chapters included in the book.

Keywords: human body; Anna Morandi; human anatomy; anatomical waxworks; science and art

Chapter.  6698 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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