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Subject: Call for papers--Anatomical models

Call for papers--Anatomical models

From: Elizabet Nijhoff Asser <e.asser<-a>
Date: Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Call for papers:
"Lessons in anatomy made easy: Anatomical models in scientific and
cultural context"

Museum Boerhaave
6-7 November 2008,
Leiden, The Netherlands

Anatomical models nowadays are made of plastic and so common that
simple ones are sold in the department stores everywhere. The
origins of these models are to be seen in the permanent exhibitions
of many science museums.

Museum Boerhaave organises on 6-7 November 2008 an international
conference on anatomical models in their scientific and cultural
context. The occasion for this conference is the completion of the
restoration of the papier-mache anatomical models of Dr. Louis
Thomas Jerome Auzoux, one of the largest collections of this kind in
the world.

Our aim is to show and share ideas about the interdisciplinary
approach of the conservation of the models. The project needed
cultural-historical as well as technical input. In four sessions the
subject will be approached from different perspectives:

Museum Boerhaave invites historians of science, art historians and
conservators with an interest in anatomical models, whether made
from wax, plaster, papier-mache or glass, to attend this conference.

Anatomical models in historical and cultural context

Though wax models have caught the attentions of several scholars,
wax is not the only material that was used by model makers. The
almost forgotten French manufacturer Louis Thomas Jerome Auzoux
produced magnificent papier-mache anatomical models of men, animal
and flowers. His models were sold worldwide and used for educational
purposes for almost a century and a half. A large collection of his
models is preserved in Museum Boerhaave. Recently the complete
collection of 73 papier-mache models made by Dr. Auzoux is restored.

The Auzoux models suffered from dust and moist and it was only
recently that adequate conservation techniques were developed. By
analysing and handling the models our knowledge of the craft, of the
history of anatomy and of conservation science was combined in an
attempt to make the right decisions for an optimal restoration
approach.  In this process questions were raised like: how accurate
were Auzoux' designs? How were they used? What was their influence?
It is the interdisciplinary field of historians of science and
medicine, and conservators, which is addressed during a two days
international conference in Museum Boerhaave

Although the main focus of this conference is on papier-mache
anatomical models, the subject is placed in a broader context. A
comparison will be made with wax models. The 18th century was the
hay day of anatomical models. The era of the great Zumbo and
Fontana, Italian artist who, with their anatomical knowledge and
artistic skills, created the world best known anatomical waxes of
the Specola collections in Florence.

The ideal male and female dissections in wax made it possible to
point out the spherical relations between organs and tissues. And
even more important, they were always at hand. Passive reading was
replaced by active looking and artificial bodies had never looked so

In the 19th century anatomical models became an alternative for the
gore of the decaying bodies. By then they were not only produced in
wax but also in glass, papier-mache, wood and plaster.  Besides, the
increased body supply from the poor had sparked of a political
debate. 'Knife' anatomy was replaced by the schematics and
aesthetics of the artificial anatomy.

We would like to welcome all conservators, curators and historians
who have an interest in anatomical models to attend this conference.

The organising committee:

    Bart Grob,
    Curator Museum Boerhaave,
    Leiden, The Netherlands
    bartgrob<-a t->museumboerhaave< . >nl

    Elizabet Nijhoff Asser,
    Conservator Mooie Boeken,
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    e.asser<-a t->mooieboeken< . >nl

                  Conservation DistList Instance 21:59
                   Distributed: Saturday, May 3, 2008
                       Message Id: cdl-21-59-005
Received on Wednesday, 23 April, 2008

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