Event Title

Baroque and Rococo Medical Art

Presenter Information

Cathryn Smith, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor

Laura Dufresne, Ph.D.

College

College of Visual and Performing Arts

Department

Fine Arts

Location

DiGiorgio Campus Center, Room 114

Start Date

24-4-2015 4:05 PM

Description

The research compiled within this thesis examines the resurgence in awareness surrounding the composition and function of the human form that followed the Italian Renaissance, which gave rise to a more approachable means of presenting the body across a variety of artistic media. Although general acceptance of anatomical study was slow to develop, artists worked in tandem with physicians to publish studies that imbued cadavers with the amount of personality necessary to disassociate them with the stigma of death. In time, carefully composed artwork retained the graphic honesty expected of learned medical professionals, but with a heavy semblance to Classical nudes like athletes or Venuses. This reliance on established archetypes helped dispel the squeamishness that surrounded the notion of tampering with the dead in lieu of more favorable portrayals of anatomy that rarely sacrificed accuracy for beauty. Studios began to develop specific regional styles that ranged from idyllic, reclining wax models typical of Italian sculptors to the unabashedly realistic casts attributed to Northern Europe. The advent of the printing press allowed sketches of dissections to become available at a rate never before experienced, with mass-produced illustrations made available through medical texts, so that every student or scholar had immediate references that withstood the inevitability of biodegradation. Baroque and subsequent Rococo aesthetics manifested themselves comfortably within the corporeal sphere of anatomical study, an advantage that undoubtedly contributed to the continued advancement of medical science.

Comments

Presented at the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium (BigSURS), April 2015

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Apr 24th, 4:05 PM

Baroque and Rococo Medical Art

DiGiorgio Campus Center, Room 114

The research compiled within this thesis examines the resurgence in awareness surrounding the composition and function of the human form that followed the Italian Renaissance, which gave rise to a more approachable means of presenting the body across a variety of artistic media. Although general acceptance of anatomical study was slow to develop, artists worked in tandem with physicians to publish studies that imbued cadavers with the amount of personality necessary to disassociate them with the stigma of death. In time, carefully composed artwork retained the graphic honesty expected of learned medical professionals, but with a heavy semblance to Classical nudes like athletes or Venuses. This reliance on established archetypes helped dispel the squeamishness that surrounded the notion of tampering with the dead in lieu of more favorable portrayals of anatomy that rarely sacrificed accuracy for beauty. Studios began to develop specific regional styles that ranged from idyllic, reclining wax models typical of Italian sculptors to the unabashedly realistic casts attributed to Northern Europe. The advent of the printing press allowed sketches of dissections to become available at a rate never before experienced, with mass-produced illustrations made available through medical texts, so that every student or scholar had immediate references that withstood the inevitability of biodegradation. Baroque and subsequent Rococo aesthetics manifested themselves comfortably within the corporeal sphere of anatomical study, an advantage that undoubtedly contributed to the continued advancement of medical science.