The Physician's Art: Representations of Art and Medicine

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Duke University Medical Center Library, 1999 - Art - 141 pages
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From early times, artists have been involved in the life and work of the physician in a variety of ways. Members of the medical professions have, in their turn, been central in shaping the visual canon of their profession, from the grandiose drama of the corpse anatomy theater to the intricately worked ivory and metal tools of their trade. The Physician’s Art celebrates the diversity and achievements of such collaborations, looking beyond the traditional boundaries of art to the books and artifacts used by physicians since the fifteenth century and inviting us to ponder their role and that of medicine in the culture of their time and our own.
Published as a companion catalogue to an exhibit of more than one hundred rare and remarkable “medical art” objects that was curated by Julie V. Hansen at the Duke University Museum of Art, this richly illustrated book includes an introductory essay by distinguished art historian Martin Kemp. Demonstrating how the practice of medicine and our understanding of disease and the human body have gone hand in hand with the development of techniques in art—combined with such inventions as the camera and the microscope—this book presents works that range from the fifteenth century to the twentieth, from Europe to the Far East and Africa, from detailed medical illustrations to photographs of ivory manikins and an amputation saw.

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About the author (1999)


Julie V. Hansen, an art historian and recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, specializes in seventeenth-century art and science.

Suzanne Porter is Curator of the History of Medicine Collections at the Duke University Medical Center Library. Martin Kemp is both Professor of the History of Art at Oxford University and British Academy Wolfson Research Professor. He is the author of a number of books, including Leonardo da Vinci: The Marvellous Works of Nature and Man.

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