Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Meinem lieben Bruder...

by Suzanne G. on October 7th, 2004

© Cornelius Huyberts & Frederik Ruysch
(click on thumbnails for detailed view)

Ruysch made about a dozen tableaux, constructed of human fetal skeletons with backgrounds of other body parts, on allegorical themes of death and the transiency of life [...]
He built the "geological" landscapes of these tableaux from gallstones and kidneystones, and "botanical" backgrounds from injected and hardened major veins and arteries for "trees," and more ramified tissue of lungs and smaller vessels for "bushes" and "grass."
The fetal skeletons, several per tableau, were ornamented with symbols of death and short life - hands may hold mayflies (which live but a day in their adult state); skulls bemoan their fate by weeping into "handkerchiefs" made of elegantly injected mesentery or brain meninges; "snakes" and "worms," symbols of corruption made of intestine, wind around pelvis and rib cage.

- Stephen Jay Gould in "Finders, Keepers:
Treasures and Oddities of Natural History"

→ Click here for more information on Ruysch



Victorian roller-skating:

(via Dark Victoria - click to enlarge)



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