Ideal pathologies : Jean-Marc Bourgery's Traité complet de l'anatomie de l'homme (1831-1854)
Jean-Marc Bourgery's Traité complet de l'anatomie de l'homme (1831-1854)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
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This thesis takes as its subject a remarkable anatomical atlas produced between 1831 and 1854: the Traite complet de l'anatomie de l'homme. Authored jointly by anatomist Jean-Marc Bourgery and artist Nicolas Henri Jacob, the Traite proposed a re-visioning of the ideal body at a moment when the very notion of such a body was undergoing transformation on two fronts: aesthetic philosophy and medicine and surgery. Because of their transverse cuts through skin and viscera, and their equal treatment of proportions and surgical interventions, the treatise's lithographic plates challenged the stability of the ideal body, whose form had typically been exemplified by classical Greek statues (and their fragments) and heavily circulated through the disciplines of art history, archaeology and academic artistic practice. At the same time, the images smoothed over the tattered edges of the pathological specimens that had become the subject of much research, teaching, and treatment in the 19th-century Parisian medical school and clinic; consequently, the images were rendered null for medical theory and surgical practice. Through an investigation of five of the Traité's plates, this thesis underscores the fraught incommensurability of these images while also taking seriously how both anatomist and artist invested in the potential of representation to bridge the gap between the ideal and the dead.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 2008.Includes bibliographical references (p. 136-140).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology