Albinus Tabulae sceleti et musculorum

Table 8, Tabulae sceleti et musculorum corporis humani (1747) Anatomist: Bernard Siegfried Albinus (1697-1770) Artist: Jan Wandelaar (1690-1759)

Excuse me, your exquisitely detailed skeleton is blocking my view of the rhinoceros.

Albinus and Wandelaar are by far my favorite duo of anatomist and artist. When the Tabulae sceleti et musculorum corporis humani was published in 1747 there was a lot of controversy over the illustrations because of the artistry and use of fanciful irrelevant backgrounds. It was nearing the end of the era where art heavily influenced anatomical illustrations. There began a shift away from the use of fanciful landscapes towards a more accurate representation of anatomy. There was a need to make the anatomy itself beautiful and captivating. Critics of Albinus said that the superfluous elements in the illustrations compromised the accuracy of the anatomy. But, Albinus stuck behind his artist and denounced those critical of his illustrations.

Apart from the whimsical scenery in the illustrations, the anatomy was quite accurate. Albinus and Wandelaar accomplished this by devising a grid system in which nets where set up and placed between the artist and the cadaver. Wandelaar would then draw what he saw in each grid thereby ensuring proportionality and accuracy. Still I wonder why the rhino?