Anyone interested in anatomy and art should visit the Wellcome Collection. “A Free Destination for the Incurably Curious,” as it bills itself—and rightly so. Teachers of biology and art will especially find it to be both fascinating and worth sharing with their students. I was alerted to this science/art site by a review of this collection along with the The Book of Human Skin by Michelle Lovric in the 13 August 2010 issue of Science (760-61). It is to be found at www.wellcomecollection.org.
Once there, do not miss visiting the Image Galleries, Skin Lab, Audio Slideshow, the video “Anatomy of the Skin,” and even the Tattoo Competition shortlist. Surprisingly, the 1926 silent, black & white film, “Anatomy of the Skin,” is not only fascinating as animation art, but for many of us, still informative all these years later.
Here is the description of Skin as given by Wellcome: The ‘Skin’ exhibition invites you to re-evaluate the largest and probably most overlooked human organ. We consider the changing importance of skin, from anatomical thought in the 16th century through to contemporary artistic exploration.
Covering four themes (Objects, Marks, Impressions and Afterlives), ‘Skin’ takes a philosophical approach. It begins by looking at the skin as a frontier between the inside and the outside of the body. Early anatomists saw it as having little value and sought to flay it to reveal the workings of the body beneath.
The exhibition then moves to look at the skin as a living document: with tattoos, scars, wrinkles or various pathologies, our skin tells a story of our life so far. Finally, the skin is considered as a sensory organ of touch and as a delicate threshold between life and death.
Skin Lab, which features artistic responses to cutting-edge research and technological developments in skin science from the mid-20th century onwards, will complement the exhibition.