Osteology

Finding new ways to display human skeletons for study and to highlight the differences in form and structure that tell of their lives.

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bones of the hand
bones of the hand

strung skeletal hand echoing the Vesalius dissections peeling back the tendons

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hand and foot
hand and foot

strung hand and foot echoing the Vesalius dissections peeling back the tendons

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bones of the lower arm
bones of the lower arm

strung skeletal hand echoing the Vesalius dissections peeling back the tendons

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cranial nerves beneath
cranial nerves beneath

three views tracing the path of cranial nerves through the skull

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cranial nerves front
cranial nerves front

three views tracing the path of cranial nerves through the skull

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cranial nerves side
cranial nerves side

three views tracing the path of cranial nerves through the skull

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cranial shapes in profile
cranial shapes in profile

comparing skull shapes in a boxed "cabinet of curiosity" format

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cranial frontal side and inside skull
cranial frontal side and inside skull

skulls from front, side and back, in a line up

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cranial shapes face on
cranial shapes face on

comparing skull shapes in a boxed "cabinet of curiosity" format

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spine base
spine base

segments of the skeleton isolated to show the geometric shapes of the bones

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neck and shoulder
neck and shoulder

segments of the skeleton isolated to show the geometric shapes of the bones

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spine and ribs
spine and ribs

segments of the skeleton isolated to show the geometric shapes of the bones

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disarticulated skull left
disarticulated skull left

three views of a skull in balance to give a feel of the weight distribution of the bones

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disarticulated skull back
disarticulated skull back

three views of a skull in balance to give a feel of the weight distribution of the bones

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disarticulated skull right
disarticulated skull right

three views of a skull in balance to give a feel of the weight distribution of the bones

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bones of finger
bones of finger

laid out with labels, but referencing ouija boards and psychic medium images

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arm bones
arm bones

laid out with labels, but referencing ouija boards and psychic medium images

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wrist bones
wrist bones

laid out with labels, but referencing ouija boards and psychic medium images

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foot bones front
foot bones front

isolating the feet to see the arches, but suggesting something else

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foot bones from behind
foot bones from behind

isolating the feet to see the arches, but suggesting something else

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foot bones profile
foot bones profile

isolating the feet to see the arches, but suggesting something else

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pelvis with bad repair
pelvis with bad repair

with flesh, but without clothes, these images would be pornographic

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pelvis side view with damage
pelvis side view with damage

with flesh, but without clothes, these images would be pornographic

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pelvis thin bone cracks
pelvis thin bone cracks

with flesh, but without clothes, these images would be pornographic

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skull bone thickness sphenoid
skull bone thickness sphenoid

thin areas of bone in the eye, accessed for lobotomies

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skull
skull

a standard beauty shot angle of a skull

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skull bone thickness
skull bone thickness

thin areas on the side of the skull showing artery pathways

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brain case bissected
brain case bissected

suspended skull to show the balance point

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brain case
brain case

suspended skull to show the balance point, but also suggesting a basket

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brain case showing zygomatic arch
brain case showing zygomatic arch

suspended skull to show the balance point

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Finding new ways to display human skeletons for study and to highlight the differences in form and structure that tell of their lives.

Historic anatomy illustrations mixed intricate detail with artistic licence. Skeletons were shown standing, lifelike, no doubt achieved by propping and hanging the cadavers in place for the artist to accuratey depict. Some illustrations transport the dead into a landscape or emotive scene; others unabashedly show a dead thing; the pins, strings and probes in position, showing every detail, sometimes even the dead man's face. Many illustrations struggle between balancing labelling the anatomy and leaving the picture uncluttered.

This series of images mixes artistic poses with comparative layouts, labelling and strings. It is rare for the public to be able to view a variety of skeletons together in order to learn how the subtle differences that tell experts the sex, age and life history of the person. To an experienced eye, they will reveal hints of the life lived by the skeleton. They even show the damage that these dated anatomical specimens have sustained, raising the question of how long they will last, and if they will be replaced with anything but identical plastic facsimiles that lack the individuality of a life history.
More discussion on this topic in this blog post.