The Art of Medicine: Over 2,000 Years of Images and Imagination

Julie Anderson, Emm Barnes, Emma Shackleton, foreword by Antony Gormley, preface by Sir William Castell, intro. by Ken Arnold and Simon Chaplin. Univ. of Chicago/Wellcome, $50 (256p) ISBN 978-0-226-74936-5
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. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2012
Release date: 01/01/2012
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