Early study of anatomy required practices which found varied acceptance across Renaissance Europe. In fact, the dissection (and, sometimes, vivisection) of animals and humans was an uncomfortably popular practice in both Italy and The Netherlands, often attracting crowds to specially built anatomical theaters. But where those theaters and the practices within were not allowed, anatomists, surgeons, and barbers required other ways to familiarize themselves with the inner-workings of the human body. Artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Andreas Vesalius, Heinrich Vogtherr, and others sought to create representations that would be both accurate and, where necessary, stand in for the lack of real-world object. Vogtherr’s work, in particular, seeks to mimic the dimensionality of the human body through a technique pioneered by the artist himself. It is not the novelty of his creations, however, that is of primary interest. Rather, in a time when becoming “one with nature” was of high value to the artist, Vogtherr did just that, offering himself up as a martyr in the effort to depict accurately the human body.
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