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Bellies, bowels and entrails in the eighteenth century$
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Rebecca Anne Barr, Sylvie Kleiman-Lafton, and Sophie Vasset

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526127051

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526127051.001.0001

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Visceral visions: art, pedagogy and politics in Revolutionary France

Visceral visions: art, pedagogy and politics in Revolutionary France

(p.294) 14 Visceral visions: art, pedagogy and politics in Revolutionary France
Bellies, bowels and entrails in the eighteenth century

Dorothy Johnson

Manchester University Press

In late eighteenth-century France, at the seeming height of neoclassicism in the arts with its goal of idealized form al’antica in the depiction of the human figure, an intensified fascination with the visual experience of viscera emerged.  Picturing viscera became increasingly common in visual culture.  These developments occurred during a period of intense political and cultural upheaval and concomitant violence and bloodshed in France. Graphic anatomical plates, prints, and caricatures as well as wax models of viscera cast from the body parts of corpses, were used for pedagogical instruction as were écorché figures, either sculpted or cast from cadavers. Paintings were made that engaged the subject of death and disembowelment. We also see the actual participation in dissection by artists as well as anatomists. Artists, anatomists, and amateurs (sometimes working in concert) produced compelling images of what lies beneath the skin for a variety of purposes and functions.

Keywords:   Anatomy, cannibalism, dissection, écorché, guillotine, viscera

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