Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Flayed Angel

Art, science, misogyny, or all three? Whatever the verdict, there is something undeniably shocking and ghoulish about the "Flayed Angel" -- one of many plates found in Jacques Fabian Gautier d'Agoty's lavishly illustrated Suite de l'Essai d'anatomie en tableaux imprim├ęs (Paris: Gautier, 1745). The juxtaposition of the detailed anatomical dissection and the corpse's almost coquettish glance over the shoulder leaves the viewer with a sense of unease and disquiet. Knowing that the corpse was almost certainly that of a convicted felon whose body was sold after death adds to the macabre nature of the illustration.

Ask for Rare Book QM 535 .G377


  1. I have read that this colour plate was a contributing factor in the choice of 'green' as the paint, of choice for hospitals. The blood/red is calmed by the green background ; thus the idea was to calm the environment ,by painting walls, rooms, operating rooms in all the spectrums of green. Do you or any of the readers have knowledge as to the truth of this story /myth ? Thank you

  2. We've never heard this one--does anyone know? Rauner Library