Le livre d’or du corps humain
Giorgio Bordin, Marco Bussagli, Laura Polo Ambrosio
A long neck or a short one? A long face or a round one? And what about the nose? And the hands? How did artists represent them over the centuries? Which perspective and beauty rules did they follow? This is the object of this book presented like a dictionary (with certain entries that don’t really belong here – like the myth of Icarus, what is it doing here?) The book proves that standards change through time and space: there is nothing in common between the eye in ’Standard of dancing lamas (Tibet, XIXe century) and that of Odilon Redon. Illness, death, blood, the relationship to the doctor are the object of interesting developments: we learn how the great Albucasis of Cordoba cauterized wounds in the Xth century or how doctors in Lombardy in the XIVth century examined their patients (illumination by Guy de Vigevano). This voyage also reaches the limits of the imagination: for a long time people believed in the existence of the sciapods described by Marco Polo (men with one single foot, which they used as a parasol to protect themselves from the sun) or in the fact that the liver turned food into blood.
Review published in the newsletter #388 - from 14 May 2015 to 20 May 2015