Scientific article
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« Anatomia artificiosa » Usages et manipulations du corps à l'époque moderne

Published inL'Atelier du CRH, vol. 11
Publication date2013

The practice of dissection is culturally marked by facts, gestures, and temporalities closely related to its object: the dead body. The cadaver and the material conditions of its dissection should be considered as producers of an order of knowledge. The anatomical act, in its materiality, designs an epistemological framework, of which it is also the product. The theoretical structures and the modalities of knowledge production are intimately bound to the concrete objects and material practices of anatomy making. In this regard, the dissection might be conceived as a device both reflecting and producing theory. Moving from two different and complementary perspectives, this article focuses on the anatomia artificiosa, considered as a range of manipulations and techniques of intervention that were used by the anatomists of the early modern period in order to reveal particular features of the bodies. The first part inquiries the epistemological choices at the basis of Bartolomeo Eustachi's experientiae artificiosae on the body, analyzing the techniques and the savoir-faires they refers to as well as the literary forms into which they are recorded. The second part of this paper focuses on the connections between the techniques of manipulation and the turning of the bodies into artifacts, characterizing the framework of early modern anatomy. It also emphasizes the epistemological premises on which such gestures are based. These premises are understood as the research program justifying dissection as a knowledge procedure. As a result, tactics of demonstration ordering the technical disposal of anatomy and the constitution of a new tradition of anatomical work, corresponding with the production of corporal artifacts, develop together. This reflection aims at offering new perspectives on the “sensorial program” characterizing the study of the body in the early modern Europe.

  • Early modern anatomy
  • Techniques of dissection
  • Body
  • Anatomical artifacts
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - Ambizione (subside n°PZ00P1_137043 / 1)
Citation (ISO format)
ANDRETTA, Elisa, MANDRESSI, Rafael. « Anatomia artificiosa » Usages et manipulations du corps à l’époque moderne. In: L’Atelier du CRH, 2013, vol. 11. doi: 10.4000/acrh.5214
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1760-7914

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