Dissecting the Meaning of the Anatomical Venus

By on October 21, 2016

What is an Anatomical Venus? The Cult of Weird community dissected some lovely ladies for the answer to this week’s giveaway question on Instagram.
Anatomical Venus

In 18th century Europe, wax anatomical models of idealized female figures that could be opened up and dissected became the popular method of studying human anatomy. Here’s a great description from The Anatomical Venus: Wax, God, Death & the Ecstatic by Morbid Anatomy cofounder Joanna Ebenstein:

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.

Get the book on Amazon right here.

For the contest, correct answers have to be submitted in the form of a photo or video post on Instagram. The more creative, the better. I narrowed down the entries to 4 finalists, then let the Cult community vote. The winner of this week’s memento mori Box of Weird is @juleababs:

Anatomical Venus

There were many other great entries this week, including a dissected Barbie, a life size mannequin, and some other great works of art. Here are my favorites:

Box of Weird: Memento Mori Edition

Memento mori box of weird featuring macabre oddities

There is just ONE MORE chance this month to win a Box of Weird filled with a copy of the brand new release Ghostland by Colin Dickey courtesy of Viking Books, Hearse Driver’s Union buttons from Dead Sled Brand, a black beeswax spine candle from Grave Digger Candles, morbid patches and stickers from Poison Apple Printshop, real antique coffins screws, a diecast Matchbox hearse, and more macabre oddities. Follow @cultofweird on Instagram and turn on notifications so you don’t miss anything.

The FINAL QUESTION will be posted Monday morning.

UPDATE: 10/29/2016 The contest has ended. Here are the results of the other weeks:

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What do you think?