A Body of Knowledge

September, 2012 - January, 2013

The University of Melbourne hosted three exhibitions focused on medicine from the perspectives of artists, anatomists, medical teachers and teaching hospitals, as part of the Melbourne Medical School’s 150th Anniversary celebrations.

The exhibitions, under the theme of A Body of Knowledge, were officially launched on September 12 by Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis at the Ian Potter Museum of Art. Photos from the exhibition opening are available here.

As part of the wider program, a 'Body of Knowledge' symposium was held on Saturday Setpember 15, with fascinating discussions involving a range of artists and clinicians. Additionally, artist Nina Sellers held an anatomical drawing class for a limited number of lucky participants, looking closely at the anatomy of the body as it anchors the muscles.


The Anatomy Lesson
Artists and anatomists share a long history of imagining the body, using their knowledge of what can be "seen" to reveal and understand what is "unseen" - the life that lies beneath the surface.

Artists were among those who performed some of the earliest dissections of human anatomy in attempts to understand what they were drawing. Likewise, Ruth Hutchinson, many of whose works were featured in this exhibition, once studied anatomy in the same rooms as medical students at the University of Melbourne.

Using objects and images found in the many departments and collections associated with the University - including a thigh from River God Po, the foot of an Etruscan statue and a head by contemporary artist Vivian Shark LeWitt - this exhibition pulled together a diverse array of parts to create a wondrous whole.

visit: Potter website

The Art of Teaching: Models and Methods
Items from the collections in the Museums of Anatomy and Pathology and Dental Science explored the models and methods used to teach medical and dentistry students over the past 150 years.


The Art of Teaching: Clinical Schools
In this exhibition, objects and photographs drawn from some of Melbourne’s oldest teaching hospitals traced the history of teaching clinical skills to Melbourne’s medical students.