Hardcover, 160 pages
Eighteenth-century anatomist Honoré Fragonard’s écorchés—preserved dissected real animal and human cadavers—are extraordinary works of virtuosic skill that have survived nearly two and a half centuries in the Fragonard Museum in Alfort, on the outskirts of Paris. Like the superb anatomical preparations made by the renowned seventeenth- to eighteenth-century anatomist Frederik Ruysch, Fragonard’s specimens challenge our understanding of historical science, Western culture, and the display of the dead. A desiccated rider mounted atop a galloping horse, wondrous demonstrations of animal anatomy: these impressive spectacles of permanently preserved bodies are still on display in the stunning collection of the Fragonard Museum. Intriguing, strange, and the rarest of rare, Fragonard’s écorchés are specimens from a realm that exists between art and science and are the historical precursor of modern-day plastinated anatomical specimens popularly exhibited worldwide.