The Art of Medicine
Over 2,000 Years of Images and Imagination
Since ancient times people have depended on medical practitioners to enhance life, to treat illness and injuries, and to help reduce pain and suffering. The scientifically based discipline that we know today stands beside diverse traditions, belief systems, and bodies of medical knowledge that have evolved in fascinating ways across cultures and continents. Throughout this history, successive generations have created artistic representations of these varied aspects of medicine, illustrating instruction manuals, documenting treatments, and creating works of art that enable individuals to express their feelings and ideas about medicine, health, and illness. From ancient wall paintings and tomb carvings to sculpture, installations, and digitally created artworks, the results are extraordinary and pay tribute to how medicine has affected our lives and the lives of our ancestors.
Drawing on the remarkable holdings of the Wellcome Collection in London, The Art of Medicine offers a unique gallery of rarely seen paintings, artifacts, drawings, prints, and extracts from manuscripts and manuals to provide a fascinating visual insight into our knowledge of the human body and mind, and how both have been treated with medicine. Julie Anderson, Emm Barnes, and Emma Shackleton take readers on a fascinating visual journey through the history of medical practice, exploring contemporary biomedical images, popular art, and caricature alongside venerable Chinese scrolls, prehistoric Mesoamerican drawings, paintings of the European Renaissance, medieval Persian manuscripts, and more. The result is a rare and remarkable visual account of what it was and is to be human in sickness and health.
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"The Art of Medicine deserves to be lauded for the variety and visual clarity of its images. The juxtaposition of ancient and modern, realistic and abstract, primitive and academic images reminds the reader of the numerous ways in which the body's structure and functions have been represented over time."
“If pictures really were worth a thousand words, the selections contained here would equate to volumes of writings—serious, graphic novel, humorous, mysterious, fear-riddled, and awe-inspired. . . . With The Art of Medicine: Over 2,000 Years of Images and Imagination on your lap, a faraway gallery is made available—a gallery in which the past and the current worlds appear, both filtered through the art of medicine.”
“[V]isually stunning. . . . The book would be a useful addition to public libraries with art or medical collections, and would serve the undergraduate as well as the graduate student.”