Medical Depiction of the Body

An earlier assignment involved writing an essay with the basis centered around the idea of representation. I chose to use Jo Spence and her representation of the medical system as a title, which allowed me to delve into her work and the thought process behind it. With the title of picturing the body, I have been thinking about the medical depiction in particular. Throughout history the understanding of the anatomy has changed and developed, with artists depicting the findings in many cases. I intend to hit the library and properly research the different approaches of artists throughout history to depict the form of the body with regards to medicine, however here are a select few images I have found in the mean time that have intrigued me greatly. My main interest for this project at the moment is to explore the field of medical depiction, as apposed to the artistic depiction.

This image created my Fritz Kahn is taken from five-book series entitled ‘The Life of Man’, in which this German gynaecologist uses a range of mediums in an attempt to illustrate the inner workings of the human body through metaphorical means; using man-made machinery in place of parts such as organs and veins to explain the inner workings of the body in a strongly industrial age. A recent combination of his works has been published under the title ‘Man Machine’, a book I hope to find in the library to help me further understand his work and the influence he had.

This intricate depiction of the human form, both male and female is, for lack of a better word, amazing. I’m really struggling to find the creator of this work as the image was found on a blog which has no mention of the artist. Medical illustrations of the human form tend to be, in my experience taken away from the depiction of life, focusing solely on the inner workings. This however shows a couple in a tender embrace with the addition of the medical anatomy. Combining the both physical aspects of the body in one image; the physical connection of two people and the relationships held at the same time as the physicality of the anatomy creates a very intriguing piece of work. I am on a mission to find the artist.

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