I have been watching a fascinating, yet disturbing program on television the past couple weeks. The first week I watched it, I was dizzy and almost felt sick, but I couldn’t look away.
It’s called Anatomy for Beginners, with Dr Gunther von Hagens doing the dissecting of the bodies and pathologist Professor John Lee (nicknamed the “Walt Disney of Death”) explaining how we work in health and in disease. Gunther is pictured to the left holding the skin of the corpse that he just peeled off.
I never did make it to the morgue while studying art (to sketch body parts), so I thought this could be the anatomy lessons that I never took. I first saw us as meat, then as an amazing technical achievement, and finally as something more amazing than I could fathom. It has also made me rethink my meat eating habits.
All I wanted was to see how we work inside, yet it has changed the way I see things outside of myself.
Episode two is a beauty for those that smoke too.
I’ll never look at Rembrandt’s “The Anatomy Lecture of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp” the same way again..
There’s some more about anatomy here, with some more about how artists have used anatomy to create art. Including the artist Anthony Noel Kelly, who decided that sketching body parts in a morgue just wasn’t enough. He paid a lab technician to smuggle out torsos, heads, and body parts so he could make casts of them, paint them silver, and pin them to the wall. He was sentenced to nine months in prison.