By Maaike Bleeker
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Additional resources for Anatomy live : performance and the operating theatre
Anatomist’s preference for corpses of criminals yielded another interesting paradox: while obviously dead, the cadaver had to be representative of the living body. In contrast to ‘found’ or donated bodies, which were commonly disease-ridden, the bodies of executed criminals were usually in good shape. 18 In order to be representative, the bodies used at dissection had to fit the audience’s sense of what constituted a normal healthy body. But the criminal’s moral repugnancy was at least as important as his or her mint physical condition.
In: Science, 269, p. 1358. 1995. Williams, S. , ‘Modern Medicine and the Uncertain Body: From Corporeality to Hyperreality’. In: Social Science & Medicine, 45. 1997. , ‘William Harvey ’s “Prelectiones”: The Performance of the Body in the Renaissance Theatre of Anatomy’. In: Representations, 17, pp. 62-95. 1987. G. Sebald reflects on Rembrandt ’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp. Viewing the painting at the Mauritshuis, he writes, We are standing precisely where those who were present at the dissection in the Waaggebouw stood, and we believe that we see what they saw then: in the foreground, the greenish, prone body of Aris Kindt, his neck broken and his chest risen terribly in rigor mortis.
The Visible Male and Female tell us as much about the history of anatomical bodies as about our contemporary cultural tastes and social norms. Virtual anatomy thus reflects the anatomical theatre of the twenty-first century, a theatre in which education, morality, and entertainment are seamlessly woven into a digital culture. It is important to realize that our knowledge of the body can never be studied separately from our knowledge of representation, the technology that mediates it, and the cultural matrix from which it arises.
Anatomy live : performance and the operating theatre by Maaike Bleeker