August 10, 2016

Venus, Deconstructed


As a follow-up to last week's episode with Luis Salas on the ancient history of medicine and anatomy, we're reaching into the archives to share the story of story of one museum, La Specola, and its infamous 18th century exhibit of gruesome wax anatomical models. Our guide is Rebecca Messbarger, a professor of Italian and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and director of the Medical Humanities minor at Washington University in St. Louis. In this episode from 2014, Messbarger explains how La Specola and its wax inhabitants helped set the course for a new Enlightenment era, and how one figure, the Venus, became central to this new regime of the human body.

IMAGE ATLAS OBSCURA: JOANNA EBENSTEINAUDIO ARCHIVE.ORG: DOMENICO SCARLATTI HARPSICHORD BY JOHN SANKEY, JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH VARIATIONS BY KIMIKO ISHIZAKA, WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART SONATAS BY GIANLUCA LUISI, ANTIONIO VIVALDI CONCERTO BY LARGO. FREESOUND.ORG: MUSEUM SOUND,ROARING CROWD.