Post #637 • October 3, 2005, 11:34 AM • 14 Comments
The problem with this is not the prudery of Floridians. The problem is that we have no proof that the bodies are not those of prisoners, or worse, executed prisoners.
If the bodies were given freely by the previous inhabitants ("The bodies are given to [Dr. Hong-Jin Sui of Dalian University] when local authorities cannot find next-of-kin, according to the show's organizers," claims the article), I approve. I love this stuff. I can't wait to see it. Guess who owns ArtAnatomy.com? Yep. Future home of my anatomy book. I teach an anatomy class at school, and I'm fond of noting this quote from Leonardo, that without knowledge of anatomy, artists make figure drawings that, well:
...you would think you were looking at a sack of walnuts rather than the human form, or a bundle of radishes rather than the muscles of figures.
His vivid evocation of the effect on the senses is confirmed by Albinus, who gives a graphic account of the difficulties encountered in early anatomical documentation, in his introduction to the Table of the Skeleton And Muscles of the Human Body, 1749. Albinus describes hanging a skeleton complete with ligaments and 'cartilaginous crusts of the joints' still attached, using an elaborate system of ropes suspended from the ceiling. He also mentions that the drawings from this subject took up to three months to complete, causing problems with drying and with putrefaction. To re-hydrate the cadaver Albinus resorted to cutting the ligaments in order to pour water into the joints; to check putrefaction he sprinkled the cadaver with vinegar, and 'wrapped it in the night time with paper, and cloths dipped in the same liquor'. He was relieved when a hard frost occurred: 'the best thing that could happen', but hindered by the artist's model who, posing naked, unsurprisingly 'neither could nor would' stand in the same room without a fire.
All in the name of art. Is the exhibit art? No, it's an elaborate natural history display. Is it moral? Probably not. Am I going? Aw yeah.