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Artists, Anatomists, and Medicine. Understanding, Healing, and Communicating the Body in the Pre-Vesalian World

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 @ 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Medical Humanities / CMRS Distinguished Visiting Scholar Lecture

The inquisitiveness of the human intellect has provoked a desire to see inside the body of man and animals since early recorded history. However, the perceived utility of anatomical knowledge has waxed and waned in both the scientific and artistic communities over the centuries. Although it may be assumed that a comprehensive knowledge of the body is a sine qua non for medical professionals, the teaching of anatomy in medical schools has declined in recent decades. Moreover, until relatively recently, our desire to understand the body structure exceeded our ability to understand disease. This disparity created a dissonance in the link between disease states and observable changes in internal organs, which, when combined with the fact that there were few meaningful disease therapies, meant that knowledge derived from dissection had little practical medical function.

Similarly, it is often understood that artists relied on dissection to develop the necessary knowledge of musculoskeletal anatomy for accurate depictions of the body. Yet, it can be argued that the need for such derived information is relatively small because most of the portrayable anatomy is easily visible in the surface anatomy of well-developed models and previously produced casts of body parts. In this talk CMRS Distinguished Visiting Scholar Francis Wells (Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Papworth Hospital) discusses the place of artists in the anatomy rooms of the early Renaissance and the utility of anatomical knowledge in the world of medicine. He will explore interplay between these two disciplines along with a historical perspective of the place of dissection and its rituals as its practice was sanctioned and recorded up until the time of Vesalius’s masterpiece “de Fabrica Corporis Humana.”

Advance registration is requested. Please click here to complete the short registration form.

No fee. Limited seating. Self-pay parking in lots 2, 3, and 4. Parking information at https://main.transportation.ucla.edu/campus-parking/visitors

Funding for CMRS Distinguished Visiting Scholars is provided by the Humanities Division of the UCLA College of Letters and Sciences, and the Armand Hammer Endowment for the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.


Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM



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