Friday, November 14, 2008

Honoré Fragonard

While his better-known cousin was painting pretty pictures, Honoré Fragonard (1732-1799) was busy flaying corpses. He prepared thousands of ecorches, 21 of which are still extant and on display at the Musée Fragonard d'Alfort. His most dramatic preparation, "Horseman of the Apocalypse" (above, top), has been replicated by contemporary anatomist Gunther von Hagens, who simply calls it "Horse and Rider" (above, bottom). The plastination process of the full-color preparation took three years and the specimen can be seen in BodyWorlds. I was able to compare the two, having seen Fragonard's embalmments outside Paris in 1999 and von Hagens' plastinates in Chicago in 2005. They each have their charms!

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