Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Dissecting Room, part II

We are not done looking at yesterday's image of a woman in a dissecting room. Michael Sappol reports that it did not originate with the 1898 book The Doctor's Window. Titled "Anatomy of the Heart" (or "She has Heart! or The Autopsy") it was an 1898 painting (1st image) by Spanish artist Enrique Simonet Lombardo (1866-1927) that was widely reproduced after Simonet (self-portrait, 2nd image) received several awards for it at international exhibitions. Although beautifully done, the black and white reproductions - including this 1906 photogravure - do not have the subtlety of the color image and its monochromatic hues broken up by the red heart held by the doctor and the blue bottle of formaldehyde in the window. The painting is on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Malaga and is described as one of the most valued in its collections: "The anatomical study of the dead girl is flawless..." This article explains that the female subject is a drowning victim and the painter captures the moment at which the anatomist stares at the heart wondering about life's fundamentals.

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