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The Ingenious Machine of Nature: Four Centuries of Art and Anatomy

April 19–June 15, 1997

What we now know as the Renaissance came into being in the arts at the end of the 15th century at the same time that European scientists were moving away from relying on ancient texts in favor of conducting their own research. Anatomists began to dissect cadavers and needed artists to illustrate their findings while artists, in turn, looked to physicians for a better understanding of the complexities of the human body. This major loan exhibition, organized by the National Gallery of Canada, presents for the first time four centuries of such creative collaboration through the display of some 120 prints, drawings, and anatomical atlases dating from the late 15th to the early 19th century. Philadelphia, with its distinguished history and continued vitality in both the visual arts and medical research, is the only U.S. venue for the international tour of the exhibition. The city claims a venerable tradition of anatomical study on the part of its native artists, such as Thomas Eakins, and also has long recognized the connection between the fine arts and the healing arts with the Philadelphia Museum of Art's own Ars Medica collection, one of the finest in any public museum.


National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Vancouver Art Gallery
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Main Building


Mimi Cazort
Ann Percy

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