For anyone interested in exploring art and anatomy…

You can learn more about the history of art and anatomy at Dream Anatomy Online– a compilation of resources from the National Library of Medicine.

Morbid Anatomy Blog is also a vital resource for art & anatomy curiosities (and much much more!)

Listed below are some publications I would recommend for any artist interested in the convergence of art and anatomy:

The Quick and the Dead: Artists and Anatomy

Deanna Petherbridge, L.J. Jordanova

University of California Press (1998)

Human Anatomy: Depicting the Body from the Renaissance to Today

Benjamin A. Rifkin, Michael J. Ackerman, Judith Folkenberg

Thames and Hudson Ltd (2011)

Anatomy Acts: How We Come To Know Ourselves

Andrew Patrizio, Dawn Kemp

Birlinn Ltd; Ill edition (2006)

Atlas of Human Anatomy and Surgery

Jean-Marie Le Minor, Henri Sick

Taschen; 1 edition (2005)

Encyclopedia Anatomica (TASCHEN Icons Series)

Museo La Specola Florence, TASCHEN

Taschen (2001)

Dream Anatomy

Michael Sappol, National Library of Medicine (US)

National Institutes of Health; 1 edition (2006)

Hidden Treasure: The National Library of Medicine

Michael Sappol, Arne Svenson, Laura Lindgren

Blast Books; 1 edition (2012)

Ephemeral Bodies: Wax Sculpture and the Human Figure

Roberta Panzanelli

Getty Research Institute; 1 edition (2008)

Spectacular Bodies: The Art and Science of the Human Body from Leonardo to Now

Martin Kemp, Marina Wallace

University of California Press; 1 edition (2000)

Literature and Medicine also share a strong, dynamic relationship with the humanities devoted to researching and understanding the interfaces between literary and medical knowledge using literary and cultural texts to examine concerns related to illness, trauma, the body, and other medical issues. The Literature, Arts and Medicine Database is an excellent resource for this field

Specifically, literature exploring anatomy and the anatomical occupations has appeared on my list of research resources over the years, with the most interesting and moving listed below:


Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab

Christine Montross

Penguin Books; Reprint edition (2008)

First Cut: A Season in the Human Anatomy Lab

Albert Howard Carter

St Martin’s Press; 1st Picador USA Pbk. Ed edition (1998)

Down Among the Dead Men: A Year in the Life of a Mortuary Technician

Michelle Williams

Constable (2010)

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Mary Roach

Penguin; New Ed edition (2004)

Working with the Dead

Josephine Price Powell

iUniverse, Inc. (2004)

Dissecting Death: Secrets of a Medical Examiner

Frederick Zugibe, David L. Carroll

Broadway Books; Reprint edition (2006)

Death’s Acre: Inside the legendary ‘Body Farm’

Patricia Cornwell, Bill Bass, Jon Jefferson

Sphere; New Ed edition (2004)


Cadaver, Speak

Marianne Boruch

Copper Canyon Press (2014)

Gray’s Anatomy: The Poems

Christopher Anthony Leibow


Poems about Anatomy – allpoetry.com

Any additions you have are welcome. Make your comment!


Preparing for London…

As Eleanor and I approach our first scheduled trip of the project – 3 days in London – we ponder how best to approach such a wide spectrum of research possibilities. Stretching over the arts, literature, anatomy, pathology and medicine, the places to visit, collections to explore and people to meet is not going to be a small feat, but our hunger for knowledge and inspiration is boundless!

Our itinerary so far looks something like this:


(a.m) Royal College of Physicians

(p.m) The Gordon Museum of Pathology (by appointment)


(a.m) Hunterian Museum – The Royal College of Surgeons

(p.m) Wellcome Collection

Current exhibition: Foreign Bodies, Common Ground


(a.m) Saatchi Gallery

Current exhibition: Body Language (20 November 2013 – 23 March 2014)

(p.m) The British Library

We shall be equipped with plenty of writing and drawing materials, cameras, dictaphones and fuel to maintain our energy levels. I anticipate plenty of discussions, if not continuous dialogue responding to what we experience in the museums and galleries, and the ideas that spring from interactions.

As the artist, I will be mainly sketching and photographing to document what I encounter. And for Eleanor as a writer, she’ll be filling pages and pages with streams of written observations and ideas. We both feel that a change of practice would be a challenging yet valuable act, so have agreed to drop tools and try each other’s methods freely throughout the 3 days. As an example, I would like to limit myself to only written words when exploring the medical instruments and artefacts; using emotive language to describe the likely experience of treatment. And Eleanor will try observational drawing to study the jar specimens and preserved bones in the Hunterian Museum.

This exchange of methods will no doubt surface new approaches to researching art and medical collections, and invite one another to experience what it is like to process and communicate ideas through visual and literary forms.

Through my experience of facilitating drawing workshops with medical students in the anatomy lab environment and medical museum, I believe in the values, importance and rewards of drawing and visualisation exercises as effective tools for them to study human material – aesthetically and conceptually – by way of combining conscious thinking with practical experience. I have just submitted a paper abstract for the upcoming conference Collect, Exchange, Display: Artistic Practice and the Medical Museum (London, 6 June 2014) about Anatomised Drawing, which was a drawing workshop I delivered at the Surgeons Hall Museum as part of ‘Art and Anatomy Course: Drawing for Medics’ with Edinburgh University. I continue to question how medical museums can play a role in anatomy education using drawing and visualisation techniques as learning methods, and this project trip will no doubt feed this research.

While art and modern medicine are often considered on opposite sides of the humanities-science divide, art and anatomy have shared a long standing relationship. To be an artist during the Renaissance was, for many, to be an anatomist. Artists and anatomists worked together to investigate the body through dissection, producing images of the body that combined medical knowledge and an artistic vision of humanity’s place in the world. Equally, the human body has long been central to Western art, and in order to represent the body in all its manifestations many artists have studied anatomy. It is this relationship between artistic representation and anatomical study that interests Eleanor and I, from the position of a GP who has revised anatomy to treat the human body, and from the position of an artist who has spent time as an artist in residence in anatomy laboratories.

Visiting London is the perfect place to kick start our research; a capital full of human bodies and beings, and a wealth of history of medicine and anatomy.

Our findings shall follow shortly…