For many years, Stanford University surgeon James Chang has been fascinated by Rodin's hands, sculptures made by the French artist in the 19th century. Chang uses Rodin's hands in what sounds to be a marvelous undergraduate seminar titled "Surgical Anatomy of the Hand: From Rodin to Reconstruction" in which he combines 3D scans of the sculptures, a process seen above, with medical imaging of human bones, nerves, and blood vessels.
Now, Chang has collaborated on an exhibition at Satnford that lies at the intersection of science and art. “Inside Rodin’s Hands: Art, Technology, and Surgery” opens next week at Sanford's Cantor Arts Center. It features Rodin bronzes annotated with any medical concerns they exhibit identified by Chang and his students, an augmented reality iPad app to overlay digital medical data on top of the sculptures. The Rodin artworks are complemented with photographs of patients' hands who have various conditions ranging from ganglion cysts to thumb amputation to fractures, and a number of medical texts and illustrations from the 16th to 19th centuries.
“I wanted to participate in this exhibition for the same reason I introduced Rodin into my seminar: to get students in the humanities excited about the sciences, and to get doctors to step out of the hospital to appreciate art," Chang says. "I have found that artists and surgeons appreciate human anatomy with equal passion.”