I happened upon an unexpected reference to a couple of the graphic works of Salvator Rosa I mentioned here a few entries ago in an essay by Benjamin A. Rifkin on The Art of Anatomy; part of an excellent book entitled Human Anatomy: Depicting the Body from the Renaissance to Today. In his discussion of William Cheselden’s 1733 treatise Osteographia, or The anatomy of the bones, Rifkin writes that the etching on its frontispiece (shown below), which ‘purports to show Galen contemplating a skeleton in the wilderness’ echoes ‘an etching by Rosa—Democritus in Meditation, which shows the philosopher studying scattered bones—with the figure of Galen an almost exact quotation from another Rosa etching, Diogenes Throwing Away the Cup.’
Elsewhere, Rifkin writes that ‘There is a history yet to be written on the influence of older anatomy books on the Romantic artists of the early nineteenth century:’ perceiving Gautier d’Agoty’s Anatomie generale… as an influence on Delacroix, and proposing that Géricault’s oil studies of cadaver-parts for his famous Raft of the Medusa recall ‘Lairesse’s drawings for Bidloo.’ We are also informed (without, in this case, any claim for its having exerted any æsthetic influence) that Samuel Taylor Coleridge owned a copy of Cheselden’s Osteographia. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book: it helped to flesh out the historical perspectives behind imagery I had formerly encountered in on-line presentations such as the (US) National Library of Medicine’s Historical Anatomies on the Web. From the opening page of Rifkin’s essay: ‘With kindred presumptions of benefice, the doctor studies the body to improve its fate; the artist to improve its spirit…’
On quite another subject, I’m very grateful to Dr. Mueller’s recent comment on an old entry here about Lorenz Stoer’s remarkable 1567 opus, Geometria et Perspectiva. Evidently, this work was based on an even-more-remarkable manuscript, an electronic facsimile of which has recently been published by Harald Fischer Verlag. I took the present pair of images from a preview selection of sixteen pages from the manuscript at this publisher’s site.