December 04, 2019
Research project description of Collections of Perfection.
For the Leiden anatomists Rau, Albinus, Van Doeveren, Bonn and Brugmans perfection was at the core of their decisions. Aesthetically, the objects had to be presented according to fixed proportions, perspectives and other aesthetic conventions. Technologically and scientifically, the anatomical collections were aimed at showing ever more perfect methods of revealing and preserving nature. Ethically, the collections functioned like mirrors and helped in the educational and therefore ethical perfectibility of man. There was even a theological meaning of perfection as some collectors sought to represent the perfect order of creation. Also the exhibition of so called ‘monsters’, tumours and other malformations were meant to enhance (ex-negativo) the image of the perfect body.
Source: Collections of Perfection, Marieke Hendriksen MA MRes, Leiden University
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