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Monumental Books and Anatomical Pleasures
In the 17th and 18th centuries, the development of mezzotint, and printing methods that combined etching and engraving, made it possible to make anatomical illustrations of startling beauty and painterly texture. Published in monumental scale and on fine paper, these plates were spectacles of anatomical science, artistry and advanced print technology—the final act of anatomy’s theatrical tradition. Their intended audience was an elite group of wealthy men of learning and discernment. Two notable exponents of this extravagant anatomy were the German anatomist Bernhard Siegfried Albinus (1697-1770) and French artist-printer-publisher Jacques Fabien Gautier d’Agoty (1711-1785).
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Last updated: 13 February 2003