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The Art of Medicine: Over 2,000 Years of Images and Imaginationby Julie Anderson
Synopses & Reviews
Since ancient times people have depended on medical practitioners to enhance life, to treat illness and injuries, and to help reduce pain and suffering. The scientifically based discipline that we know today stands beside diverse traditions, belief systems, and bodies of medical knowledge that have evolved in fascinating ways across cultures and continents. Throughout this history, successive generations have created artistic representations of these varied aspects of medicine, illustrating instruction manuals, documenting treatments, and creating works of art that enable individuals to express their feelings and ideas about medicine, health, and illness. From ancient wall paintings and tomb carvings to sculpture, installations, and digitally created artworks, the results are extraordinary and pay tribute to how medicine has affected our lives and the lives of our ancestors.
Drawing on the remarkable holdings of the Wellcome Collection in London, The Art of Medicine offers a unique gallery of rarely seen paintings, artifacts, drawings, prints, and extracts from manuscripts and manuals to provide a fascinating visual insight into our knowledge of the human body and mind, and how both have been treated with medicine. Julie Anderson, Emm Barnes, and Emma Shackleton take readers on a fascinating visual journey through the history of medical practice, exploring contemporary biomedical images, popular art, and caricature alongside venerable Chinese scrolls, prehistoric Mesoamerican drawings, paintings of the European Renaissance, medieval Persian manuscripts, and more. The result is a rare and remarkable visual account of what it was and is to be human in sickness and health.
"This astonishingly various visual encyclopedia, a fraction of the collection of the Wellcome Trust's million objects (the trust is a British medical research foundation) — represents a wunderkammer focused on multifarious cross-cultural representations of the human body in anatomical studies, etchings, paintings, and advertisements. The book is organized thematically into six chapters about the body, medicine, disease, surgery, mental illness, and preventive medicine; each is replete with images accompanied by informative texts. Most fascinating are the sections on medicine, healing, and belief in ancient Egypt and Greece; traditional Chinese demon masks to scare off disease-causing evil spirits; and Christian imagery of, for example, a saint healing through touch and faith. The treatment of mental illness is illustrated with images from London's notoriously brutal Bethlem Royal hospital (the original Bedlam). Several sections, particularly on anatomy and surgery, are not for the fainthearted. Compiled by medical historian Anderson, Royal Holloway University science outreach officer Barnes, and visual arts writer Shackleton, this visually arresting, wide-ranging, and informative collection pre-sents an encyclopedic global history of the body, illness, and medicine. 350 color and 50 b&w illus., all very well reproduced." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book News Annotation:
This big-format book (12.25x12.25") affords generous display of roughly 400 images, all but a few from the Wellcome Library, London. An introductory essay profiles Henry Wellcome (born in a log cabin in the US; died as a knight of the British realm) and his spectacular collection of images and objects pertaining to the history of medicine. This volume presents an engaging selection arranged in chapters on mapping the body, medicine in daily life, illnesses and cures, treatment, mental illness, and staying well. The text consists of contextual narrative and captions. The three authors are affiliated as follows: Julie Anderson (history of modern medicine, U. of Kent, UK), Emm Barnes (science outreach officer, Royal Holloway, U. of London), and Emma Shackleton, an editor and writer specializing in the visual arts. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Emm Barnes is a science outreach officer with Royal Holloway, University of London.
Emma Shackleton is an editor and writer specializing in the visual arts who has worked with the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery in London.
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