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Encyclopedia Anatomica: Museo La Specola, Florence (Klotz) Paperback – 29 Oct 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Taschen GmbH (29 Oct. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3822876135
  • ISBN-13: 978-3822876138
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 5.1 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 901,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Monika von During is Professor of Neuroanatomy at the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany. Her brief medical explanations help to guide both lay-reader and medical expert through this graphic encyclopaedia of anatomy. Marta Poggesi is a biologist, and has been curator of the Museo Zoologico La Specola since 1969. Parallel to research projects, she manages and catalogues the zoological collection, to which the anatomical wax bodies and parts belong. Georges Didi-Huberman is professor at the College of Social Sciences in Paris. His contribution underscores the tension inherent in this collection: between religious votive wax figures, mannerist art and wonder chambers and the Enlightenment. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By J. Glover on 6 Dec. 2007
Format: Paperback
TASCHEN's excellent series continues with a mesmerizing and horrifying addition to their chunky A5-sized collection. From medieval times onward the art of the waxworker has been a poor relative to practitioners in the `elevated' sculptural media of stone and bronze, never afforded the respect that the considerable craft required to successfully work it deserves. But, as Georges Didi-Huberman observes in one of the several introductions to this collection of full-colour photographs, wax is the material of all resemblances, and its virtues are so remarkable that it was often attributed with magical properties. Encyclopaedia Anatomica makes this immediately apparent with around 1500 studies of the human body from the Museo La Specola in Florence, the cream of 16th and 17th century wax-artists working when medicine was starting to take a serious interest in the mechanisms of the body.

Everything from the brain to the metatarsals, the viscera to the voicebox, is depicted, often with such astonishing accuracy and clarity (or as far as I can tell, not having a pass to the Royal College of Surgeons) that you might think you are looking at real dissections. The full-figure studies of flayed men reclining - as if in some tortural ecstasy - on silk cushions, or the advanced representation of a young woman with her removable skin and organs, are especially hypnotic. (I still can't look at some of the pictures without wincing and flicking the page. The final section on reproduction is a particular challenge.) It is one of the central mysteries why when we look at the insides of our own bodies we confront horror and beauty in such close proximity.

Taschen are to be recognised for bringing such an important collection to a wider audience.
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Format: Paperback
This is the perfect book for anyone interested in human anatomy.
I'm a medicine student and I use this book as atlas of human anatomy. In it you can find highly detailed photos of the entire collection of wax models from Museo La Specola in Florence. Perfect anatomical reproductions of 18th century like the famous Venere Medicea that can be taken apart to see inside her body from muscles of thoracic and abdominal walls to uterus with fetus. It includes also explanations about artists involved and techniques used. A highly recommended book to look inside human body.
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By Ged Clarke on 13 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Yes…… all good apart from a real hard spine line where it has been opened wide and flattened, but I wasn't expecting perfection.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Very realistic wax models of human anatomy 20 Mar. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It is astonishing what the medical wax sculptors were able to do with wax. The models are so realistic and detailed that I had to check the introduction to make sure that they were not actual preserved specimens. Almost every page is dominated by a single high-quality photo of a wax model of some part of human anatomy, and there are 700 pages. There is very little text and almost no naming of the details within a single photo, just a title (giving the scientific names of the major features being illustrated) and brief caption describing the whole model. So this is not a substitute for an anatomy book (though it would make a great companion). Every part of anatomy that I can think of is well-represented, usually by many sculptures showing different layers and cutaway views - brain, heart, lungs, skeleton, eyes, sexual organs, cutaway views of stages of pregnancy, the different parts of the digestive system, musculature, incredibly detailed networks of blood vessels, inner ear, and many groups of different body parts to show how they fit together. My one criticism of the book is that I wish it had a larger format. I have verified the dimensions stated by Amazon, which are 7.87 x 5.70 for the version that I am reviewing.
12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Awesome 1 Dec. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great book for those who interested in this unique collection of anatomical wax models. Incredibly well photographed and documented, doesn't skimp on any details. It's good to see this not very well known collection credited and recorded in a thourough reference.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The marriage of Science and Art 17 May 2001
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
ENCYCLOPEDIA ANATOMICA is a detailed examination of the collection of wax images of the dissected human body which were created in the late 18th century and are housed in a unique museum - Museo La Specola in Florence, Italy. Much like "Dr Tulp's Anatomy Lesson" this collection is not for the faint of heart. Every organ, muscle, nerve, bone, nerve, and vessel of the body have been meticulously sculpted in wax. In ways this is like a Madame Toussad's Wax Museum gone mad. Yet the prosections are accompanied by some truly beautiful three dimensional tableaux of quasihistorical scenes, such as "The Plague", "Syphillis", "The Burial", and others which are dramatic sculptures in themselves. The commentary is brief but informative describing how the models for the body parts were dissected and created. As stated above, this little tome is not for everyone, but for artists who want to study the interior of their models and for all of those who just want a better glimpse of how we are assembled, this book is a treasure.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Book is Better Than the Museum 26 July 2008
By Diego Banducci - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Stumbled on the Museum La Specola on a trip to Florence about five years ago. The museum, which is primarily a museum of natural history, is run down and dusty. They save these anatomical models for the end of the self-guided tour.

Even covered with dust, they are spectacular. Created towards the end of the 18th Century, they are cut-away wax models of the human body that were used to instruct medical students.

They have been cleaned up for the pictures in this book. The pictures are great -- lots of large full-color pictures of the highest quality, perhaps because the publisher (Taschen) is a publisher of fine art books.

As an aside, I saw a horror movie on TV one night in which one of these models was used as a freshly opened abdomen of a young woman who had been murdered by an evil doctor It looked pretty realistic.

Anyway, buy the book, then go visit the museum when you're in Florence (it's next to the Pitti Palace).

If this page shows it as unavailable, try Encyclopedia Anatomica (TASCHEN Icons Series)
Waxing Eloquent 26 Sept. 2013
By Donald Jay Peet - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading this was the best possible preparation for the hour I spent in the exhibit at Florence last spring. The lighting there is poor, and the labels are none too enlightening, so I felt fortunate that this exquisitely photographed overview had oriented me to the uniqueness of the works and had given me a sort of self-selected scavenger hunt list to route me through the dank and undervisited collection galleries.
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