Med Illustration news! (old news)

Some of the articles I have been reading literally astonish me. Like in an article by Willam E. Loechel the History of Medical IllustrationĀ I learned that there was no preservative during the renaissance, so the dissectors of that time were like salesman, trying to convince an artist that illustrating the dismembered body was worth their time. Many artists didn’t want to do this, I don’t blame them, the bodies were slowly rotting before their eyes. But some artists had to take up this opportunity because, well, they gotta eat somehow, and there wasn’t many more options available at the time. There were some though, that decided to take on this challenge to gain a better understanding of the human body to help with their future paintings. Another fun fact I learned in the same article (the guy was good) was that much of the art produced for this task was not as a painting, or even a drawing, it was done in etchings. An etching is like a shallow carving on wood, metal, or stone, that was inked up with various colors and then laid on a piece of parchment and pressed. One of the difficult things about this process is that the image has to be carved on backwards because the print will be the mirror of the image created. It sounds difficult, but the reason they did this was so that they could print the image as many times as they needed to in order to illustrate many pamphlets as the dissector decided was necessary. I learned in another article titled Medical Illustration: from caves to cyberspace by Jenni Tsafrir and Avi Ohry about THE first medically illustrated image. Picture yourself somewhere near the town of Pimiango near the border of Cantabria in northern Spain. You walk around a rocky coast to find yourself staring into a cave. The cave is small, and it would likely be a child who had the upper hand in crawling into a space this small. But there on the cave wall, you see THIS! Image result for Cueva del pindal Mammoth in red Written on the cave wall in red ink is the Mammoth in red, found in Cueva del Pindal. This was likely used to teach young hunters that the marks above the shoulder is where it is best to shoot the beast with your spear, the heart. So there it is, the first medical illustration that the world has ever seen. I read in a book some troubling information that could possibly hinder my ability to document the medical illustrators in history. The book is Visualizing medieval medicine and natural history, 1200-1550, by Givens. This book in the first paragraph reported that many of the medieval texts did not have authors. The might even have been written for the scribes themselves, meaning there is no where to give credit where credit is due. There were also no medical illustrators, just artists who were hired to do a job. There isn’t much of a story to follow up until Andreas Vesalius, a man from the NetherlandsĀ  in 1514 wrote the first atlas of anatomy called De Humani Corporis Fabrica, or on the fabric of the human body in 1543. but from then on, we had da vinci, frank netter, and many more. So that’s my little bit to share with you so far in the medical illustration news.
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2 thoughts on “Med Illustration news! (old news)”

  1. I can’t tell you how excited I am for your research article! This topic is so fascinating, and I think you can add visuals and links throughout and I just can’t imagine the work won’t be the kind of stuff that almost everyone would enjoy reading. Your passion and ability to write as if you’re narrating a drama (“Picture yourself in Pimiango”) could really make this something special! Really interesting tidbits in this post!

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