The incredible London museum The Wellcome Collection is staging a new exhibition, titled "Exquisite Bodies: or the Curious and Grotesque History of the Anatomical Model," running from July 30 to October 18. The talented Joanna Ebenstein of Morbid Anatomy was a curatorial adviser and graphic designer for the exhibition. I'm sure it will be an incredible, er, body of artifacts. From Morbid Anatomy:
Popular anatomical displays were a kind of popular, spectacular, democratized version of scholarly or professional medical museums. Often exhibiting objects intended for (or perhaps even once presented in) an academic context, these displays--which were extremely popular in the 19th Century and could be widely found at fairgrounds and in "popular anatomical museums" until the beginning of the 20th Century-blended education and entertainment, public health and spectacle, scholarship and prurience for a mass audience."Exquisite Bodies" (Morbid Anatomy)
The centerpiece of these displays was usually the Anatomical Venus--a beautiful, life-like woman, generally made of wax, often life-sized, and demonstrating--upon the delicate removal of her breastplate--the mysteries of the inner female body. This central Venus was generally supplemented by waxes and other sorts of models, wet preparations, and illustrations parsing topics such as the ideal and compromised female body, the ravages of sexually transmitted diseases, the aberrant body, the mysteries of generation, and the ill effects of spermatorhea (aka "abnormally frequent emission of the semen without copulation", seen as a real public health issue at the time).