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Dissection Scenes and Fancies

Anatomical Frontpieces and Title Pages

Title pages and frontispieces functioned as a visual synopsis of the science and art of anatomy, a place where artists could playfully represent the poetics of dissection. They typically featured skeletons, cadavers, famous physicians and mythical figures, placed in anatomical theaters and arcadian landscapes, amidst dissecting tables, bones, classical architecture, floating symbols and text. The frontispiece was the last refuge of fantasy in scientific anatomy. In the mid-1700s anatomists began to drop them, but the frontispiece continued on in art anatomies and popular scientific books.

Anatomische Tafeln by Giulio CasserioTabulae anatomical by Caldani and BosaElementi di anatomia by Bertinatti



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Last updated: 8 March 2004



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