Artistic Practice. Scientific Vision. British Artistic Anatomy in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Century.


McIntyre Medical Building Osler Library of the History of Medicine, 3rd floor, 3655 promenade Sir William Osler, Montreal, QC, H3G 1Y6, CA

An Exhibition at the Osler Library of the History of Medicine

September 2012 - February 2013
Curated by Dr. Allister Neher

This is an exhibition about the intersection of art and anatomy in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Britain. In this era the lives of art students and medical students overlapped in significant ways.  In order to improve their portrayals of the human body students from the Royal Academy of Arts in London often studied at the private anatomy schools attended by medical students. Conversely, anatomy students attended drawing classes at the Royal Academy of Arts so that they could gain the skills necessary to record specimens and anatomical information. Artists and anatomists often frequented the same coffee houses and social venues.

The productive mixing of artists and anatomists continued well into the nineteenth century. This exhibition focuses on works published in Edinburgh and London in a period in which photography was not yet a viable medium for recording the natural world and the idea of objectivity did not exclude artistry.