Anita Guerrini, Horning Professor of the Humanities and Professor of History at Oregon State University, discusses the fascinating research which she presented atObjects in Motion: Material Culture in Transition.
Although the human skeleton was well known as a symbol before 1500, the articulated skeleton does not seem to have come into its own as an object – scientific and artistic as well as symbolic – until the time of Vesalius. Curiously ubiquitous, since everyone has one, but yet largely invisible, anatomists revealed the skeleton to view. The well-known illustrations of Vesalius were plagiarized over and over for two centuries after their publication in 1543.
Vesalius was the first to give detailed instructions on how to make a skeleton, for although it was a natural object, it was also a crafted object whose construction entailed a lot of work…
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