Tuesday, February 24, 2009

“no monster exists that cannot be made pleasing through art”

Or "hello, I am monstir" for the smart set...

While at work, I stumbled upon this amazing online exhibit by The New York Academy of Medicine called A Telling of Wonders: Teratology in Western Medicine through 1800. All the material is from their library's collections, which makes me want to go check out the historical collections, which, from the online teasers, seem a bit like a subdued (and fetus jar-less) Mutter Museum. Field trip anyone?

Though it gives great summaries of fascinating and bizarre historical books and pamphlets, the visual elements are too small and too sparse. I wish that there were more scans from the various books cited and a gallery of the more compelling images. Still the exhibit is a nice tease and includes a great bibliography of current works related to teratology. Things like this are the very reason I considered applying for a medical librarianship concentration.

What monsters are you studying these days?

(image from the exhibit: engraving, Frederik Ruysch)


looka said...

I wanna go!
I'd wish for more scans as well, that old stuff looks so grand.

We recently went on a stroll thru the hills around our hometown and an uncle who knows the such, told us stories about the regional "monsters" when we passed a place they are rumored to, um, hang out at. There are even some markstones with portraits, maybe I can remind myself to take pictures...

It's interesting how back when they lived, the scare around these monsters/people was made as much of myth as of the way they looked.

There are various rich collections of monster tales from different regions in Austria and they all basically speak of malformed persons who were somehow connected to the devil/evil.
You can see catholics had a pretty tight grip on imagination.... I wonder how some of the tales and happenings would have turned out with a different background.

Monsters I'm studying? Some classics of myth here, more to come:

Amanda said...

Monsters I am studying:

My ex.