For hundreds of years, medical collections have been sites of medical and artistic exchange. Not only were many of their contents created by artists and physicians, but the collections were also often compiled by doctors, who were themselves artistes-manqués. Although medical museums have recently received attention in museological and historical studies, they remain relatively ignored within art historical scholarship.

This one-day conference will look at the anatomical, pathological or medical museum from the perspectives of art history and visual culture. Artists have utilised these spaces for the study of anatomy and pathology–as well as for ideas and inspiration–but what do we know about the artists, photographers and craftsmen and women who have worked within the museum? How can we theorise the collecting practices of the doctors who founded and/or ran these museums? What role did these spaces and their contents have on artistic practice, visual representation and the writing of art and medical histories? How does the medical museum continue to play a role in contemporary art-making and medical learning? From the wax modelers to the commissioning physicians to the painters and sculptors who were inspired by its contents, this conference will spark a dialogue about the artistry of the medical museum.

This conference is associated with the ‘The Sculpture of the Écorché’ conference at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds on 7 June 2014. For further information, see: http://www.henry-moore.org/hmi/events/the-sculpture-of-the-acorcha.

This conference has been generously funded by the Wellcome Trust.

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