The Anatomical Venus, Book signed by author Joanna Ebenstein

The Anatomical Venus, Book signed by author Joanna Ebenstein


224 pages
6.9 x 1 x 9.5 inches
Over 250 Color images, many never before published

Signed copy of The Anatomical Venus: Wax, God, Death and the Ecstatic, by our founder Joanna Ebenstein. 

More about the book:

"Fabulous … A mesmerizing marriage of art and science" The Tatler

From beginning to end, the beauty of this book and the brilliance of its author will leave you in awe.-- Dianca London, Lenny Letter

"...evoke[s] a range of emotions, including horror, awe, and, most of all, deep interest." Publisher's Weekly

Of all the artifacts from the history of medicine, the Anatomical Venus―with its heady mixture of beauty, eroticism and death―is the most seductive. These life-sized dissectible wax women reclining on moth-eaten velvet cushions―with glass eyes, strings of pearls, and golden tiaras crowning their real human hair―were created in eighteenth-century Florence as the centerpiece of the first truly public science museum. Conceived as a means to teach human anatomy, the Venus also tacitly communicated the relationship between the human body and a divinely created cosmos; between art and science, nature and mankind. Today, she both intrigues and confounds, troubling our neat categorical divides between life and death, body and soul, effigy and pedagogy, entertainment and education, kitsch and art.

The first book of its kind, The Anatomical Venus, by Morbid Anatomy Museum cofounder Joanna Ebenstein, features over 250 images―many never before published―gathered by its author from around the world. Its extensively researched text explores the Anatomical Venus within her historical and cultural context in order to reveal the shifting attitudes toward death and the body that today render such spectacles strange. It reflects on connections between death and wax, the tradition of life-sized simulacra and preserved beautiful women, the phenomenon of women in glass boxes in fairground displays, and ideas of the ecstatic, the sublime and the uncanny. 

Joanna Ebenstein is a Brooklyn-based writer, curator, photographer and graphic designer. She is the creator of the Morbid Anatomy blog, library and event series, and was cofounder and creative director of the recently shuttered Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn. Her books include Death: A Graveside Companion and The Anatomical Venus. Her work explores the intersections of art and medicine, death and culture, and the objective and subjective.

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