Abstract: Prior to the Renaissance the anatomist was restricted to the cadavers of condemned criminals and the goal of dissection was essentially to learn ways to prolong suffering during execution. Over time the autopsy was utilized in public health to determine the cause of death and later developed a role in forensics by the 1300’s. The earliest dissections took place in the homes of the wealthy and became quite common by the 1400’s. However, dissections were still only performed on criminals of low birth and were regarded as a great humility. By the 15th century, some anatomists were employed directly as the executioner; some prisoners were said to prefer the opium of the physician to a public hanging. At the same time, interest developed in anatomy as an area of research and the artists of the period were also dissecting cadavers. Demand for cadavers grew to the point that individuals acquired them by any means possible. With the revival of antiquity, the artists tried to portray man as beautiful and in doing so wanted to understand the human form completely. The patron families, such as the Medici’s, helped to bring the two groups together. Perhaps the key difference between the two was their goal in dissection; the artist to accurately produce beauty and the anatomist to gain scientific knowledge. In the end, the artist’s goal for perfection took the art of anatomy to a higher level and in the end produced some of the most magnificent productions.
The 16th-century instruments in the Museum of the History of Science in Florence provide one of the most attractive records of contemporary mathematics, significant for having been formed in the period, rather than assembled later by a museum or a collector. This lecture presents the results of cataloguing these instruments.
From where do artists get their colours?
It might seem a little strange to study art by looking at its materials. But it would not have seemed strange at all to painters of the Middle Ages or the Renaissance. They were deeply engaged with their materials, out of sheer necessity - for they made their own paints from the raw materials. These painters knew that the quality of their art depended vitally on the quality of these materials. Although that is still true today, few contemporary artists have a comparable relationship with the physical characteristics of
their medium. One suspects there is a perception almost of something vulgar about such tangible aspects of art. This means not only that some artists have undertaken illinformed and disastrous experiments with paints, but that art itself is in danger of losing touch with its roots as a practical craft – a craft that happens to have produced some of the most glorious expressions of the human spirit.
Read more here:http://philipball.co.uk/docs/pdf/RI_discourse.pdf