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BBC – The Beauty of Anatomy (2014)

BBC The Beauty of Anatomy

Dr Adam Rutherford investigates the close relationship between discoveries in anatomy and the works of art that illustrate them.

Ch1. Galen and Leonardo
Adam Rutherford begins his series investigating the close relationship between discoveries in anatomy and the works of art that illustrate them by looking at the work of the 2nd-century Roman anatomist Claudius Galen and the artist and part-time dissector Leonardo da Vinci.

Ch2. Andreas Vesalius
In 1537, the 23-year-old Andreas Vesalius became the most famous anatomist in Europe. He went on to produce the first complete account of the human body and how to dissect it, his drawings setting the gold standard for anatomical art for centuries to come and earning him the title of ‘the founder of modern anatomy’. Adam Rutherford tells his story.

Ch3. Rembrandt and Ruysch
In the 17th century in Holland, anatomy became the cutting edge of medical science, inspiring the great artists of the age like Rembrandt to produce the most beautiful anatomical paintings yet created. Adam Rutherford travels to the Hague and Amsterdam to find out what it was that drew Rembrandt to anatomy and why dissecting bodies was thought a suitable subject for high art.

Ch4. The Hunter Brothers
Dr Adam Rutherford investigates the story of the Hunter brothers, the celebrated anatomists who controversially transformed both medicine and art in 18th-century Britain. Their belief that their students could only learn anatomy by carrying out dissections created an unprecedented demand for dead bodies and a market for the growing trade of body snatching from graveyards.

Ch5. Gray’s Anatomy
The world’s most famous study of the human body is Gray’s Anatomy. The accuracy of the descriptions and the stark beauty of the illustrations made it an instant bestseller. Adam Rutherford tells the story of how, in just three years, Dr Henry Gray and Dr Henry Carter put it together based on dissections they personally performed.

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