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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R3S35X

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Stripped bare: Body Worlds' plastinates as anatomical portraiture, informed by both the wax sculpture of Museo della Specola, Florence, Italy, and the practices of traditional Early Modern portraiture Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
early modern
Museo della Specola
Italy
portraiture
wax sculpture
Body Worlds
anatomical portraiture
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Johnson, Kimberly
Supervisor and department
McTavish, Lianne (Art & Design)
Examining committee member and department
Meagher, Michelle (Women's Studies)
Ball, Allen (Art & Design)
Boone, Betsy (Art & Design)
Department
Department of Art and Design
Specialization

Date accepted
2011-10-04T16:11:56Z
Graduation date
2011-11
Degree
Master of Arts
Degree level
Master's
Abstract
Body Worlds, the traveling international exhibitions of posed, skinless cadavers, has attracted controversy since 1995. Installed corpses appear animated due to the plastic polymers that are forcibly injected into their bodies that enable the body to retain an enduring figural posture. A particular focus of criticism is the portrayal of the eroticized female corpses inside Body Worlds’ displays. However, theatrically sensualized female anatomical figures are not new, having been first presented in the eighteenth-century wax sculpture of Museo della Specola, Florence, Italy. Unlike the waxes of Museo della Specola, Body Worlds’ plastinates constitute an entirely new genre of display that I call “anatomical portraiture.” The compositions of anatomical portraits are implicitly informed by the display practices of both early modern anatomy collections and traditional portraiture. Approaching Body Worlds’ plastinates as anatomical portraits facilitates a more explicit understanding of how gender is constructed using cadaver flesh, plastic polymers, and material objects.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R3S35X
Rights
License granted by Kimberly Johnson (kcj@ualberta.ca) on 2011-10-04T01:52:25Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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