Art History: Black Apollo: Aesthetics, Dissection and Race in Joseph Maclise’s Surgical Anatomy
Presenter: Keren Hammerschlag
This talk is concerned with the complex relationship between aesthetics and race in nineteenth-century anatomical illustration, with a focus on Joseph Maclise’s 1851 anatomical atlas, Surgical Anatomy. Maclise’s atlas contains several unusual illustrations of the dissection of a Black man, prompting an interrogation of the racial identities of those who ended up on dissecting tables against their will during the nineteenth century. At the same time, the cadavers in Maclise’s atlas are notably aestheticised, placing them in dialogue with classical statues such as the Apollo Belvedere, the ‘high’ art productions of Joseph’s brother, the Royal Academician Daniel Maclise, and abolition imagery from the period. Keren Hammerschlag is a Lecturer in the Centre for Art History and Art Theory at the Australian National University. Her current research focuses on nineteenth-century anatomical illustration, and race in Victorian painting. She is the author of Frederic Leighton: Death, Mortality, Resurrection (Ashgate; 2015) and ‘Christ’s Racial Origins: Finding the Jewish Race in Victorian History Painting,’ an article published in The Art Bulletin in 2021.
This event will be held online via Zoom.
Upcoming seminars this semester:
Keren Hammerschlag Black Apollo: Aesthetics, Dissection and Race in Joseph Maclise’s Surgical Anatomy
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Rachel Skokowski, “Monkeys & Mechanical Arts: The Goncourt Brothers and the 19th-century Etching Revival”
Anna Arabindan-Kesson, “Black Bodies, White Gold: Cotton, Race and Representation in the United States”
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Nina Stromqvist, “The Border, taking the ancient Nordic tradition of allemansrätten or ‘everyman’s right’ as a conceptual proposition”
Mimi Kelly, “New Refractions of Self: Social Media and the Digital Woman”
Diana Reynolds, “Religious Foundations as Second Voices: The Victoria Contemporary Figurative Artist, 1848-1870”