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Isis. 2009 Sep;100(3):505-36.

Small parts: Crisóstomo Martínez (1638-1694), bone histology, and the visual making of body wholeness.

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The Valencian engraver Crisóstomo Martínez (ca. 1638-1694) arrived in Paris in July 1687, commissioned to create an anatomical atlas. Impressed by Govard Bidloo's Anatomia humani corporis (1685), Martínez decided to make a comparable work on osteology. His unpublished atlas of anatomy was exceptional in its choice of topic, its quality, and its overall visual approach. Martínez's work revolves around the dissolving effects of microscopic study on the traditional understanding of the connections between parts and whole. Underlying his investigation into the most effective composition of an anatomical atlas was the idea of the self-organizing and complex nature of the body as itself a composition, an idea rooted in the way observation and judgment, the seen and the unseen, and notions about collections and communities were connected in the vanitas culture. This essay explores the links between Martínez's work and the cultures of a time in which observation and interpretation of the processes of death, decay, and fragmentation played a primary role in defining a common human nature around which notions of destiny could be articulated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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