Sunday 6 November 2016
Johann Friedrich Schröter’s engraved illustration based on Johann Christian Rosenmüller’s anatomical design
Designed and published by Johann Christian Rosenmüller’s (1771–1820) in “Chirurgisch-anatomische Abbildungen für Aerzte und Wundärzte” (Surgical-anatomical illustrations for physicians and surgeons), 1804–12, Weimar.
Engraved by Johann Friedrich Schröter (1770–1836)
“Plate 11”, 1805
Engraving (with watercolour modelling?) on wove paper with margins (as published)
Size: (sheet) 48.4 x 33.1 cm; (plate) 42.4 x 27.8 cm
Inscribed in the plate (lower left) “Rosenmuller. ad nat. del.”; (upper right) “T. 11”; (lower right) “J. F. Schroter Sculps.”
Condition: crisp impression in near pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, folds, foxing or significant stains). The left edge has a binding remnant (verso).
I am selling this extremely rare anatomical print exhibiting the highest order to technical skill and in outstanding condition for a total cost of AU$98 (currently US$75.19/EUR67.53/GBP60.10 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this masterpiece of engraved illustration, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
Arguably, good illustration is about clear expression of ideas—amongst a host of other important attributes. In Rosenmüller’s illustration showing a sagittal or lateral plane sectional view of the lower portion of a head, for example, I can envisage that an anatomist would understand every bump and hollow represented. In short, this is an illustration that clarifies, in visual terms, what Rosenmüller discusses in his accompanying written text. Or, to use the words of Cather Clinger (2013) in her essay “Speleological Interiority—The Mindfulness of a Spelunking Anatomist” in “Discovering the Human: Life Science and the Arts in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries”, Rosenmüller’s illustrations are “projected as accurate, dispassionate representations of the subject in the text to which they are linked” (p. 90).
Of course, clarity of expression and accuracy of representation are not necessarily the hallmarks of masterpieces. The essential quality of a truly great illustration is that it must catch—“hook”—a viewer’s attention and then sustain a viewer’s attention until the experience of looking is memorable. For me this illustration does just that! It is simultaneously grotesque and beautiful: grotesque in subject in that it arrests attention, but beautiful in execution so that close attention is rewarded by seeing the skill and sensitivity of drawing exhibited.