Bologna: 18th Century Dissection Game

Have you ever played the game Operation, “the whacky doctors game where you are the whacky doctor” as a kid?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6MAkLJ79LE

At the University of Bologna, there is the Palazzo Poggi Museo which features Clemente Susini’s “Venerina.” This replica shows Venerina in the last moments of her life before she “voluptuously” [their words, not mine] surrenders herself to death. This “effect” was supposed to show sensitivity at the time. The organs are removable to simulate dissection and there is a fetus in the womb to demonstrate the reproductive power of a woman.

“The alienating effect that the statue produces by combining anatomical detail, crude and repulsive, with a harmonious and sensual litheness, is the result of a precise scientific choice: sensitivity is an essential quality of matter; sensitivity – with its wide range of manifestations, including the sensuality of the Venerina who surrenders herself to death – lies at the core of the physical and physiological organisation of man.”

 



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