Huge Plaster Medical Anatomical Model of the Bones of the Foot - Folk Art - Skeleton - Hand PaintedHuge Plaster Medical Anatomical Model of the Bones of the Foot - Folk Art - Skeleton - Hand PaintedHuge Plaster Medical Anatomical Model of the Bones of the Foot - Folk Art - Skeleton - Hand PaintedHuge Plaster Medical Anatomical Model of the Bones of the Foot - Folk Art - Skeleton - Hand PaintedHuge Plaster Medical Anatomical Model of the Bones of the Foot - Folk Art - Skeleton - Hand PaintedHuge Plaster Medical Anatomical Model of the Bones of the Foot - Folk Art - Skeleton - Hand PaintedHuge Plaster Medical Anatomical Model of the Bones of the Foot - Folk Art - Skeleton - Hand PaintedHuge Plaster Medical Anatomical Model of the Bones of the Foot - Folk Art - Skeleton - Hand PaintedHuge Plaster Medical Anatomical Model of the Bones of the Foot - Folk Art - Skeleton - Hand PaintedHuge Plaster Medical Anatomical Model of the Bones of the Foot - Folk Art - Skeleton - Hand Painted

Proof at last - BIGFOOT EXISTS! - or at least one of his feet does - and just in time for Halloween... or Christmas... or maybe your birthday... let's face it, if this piece is for you, you know it already and don't have to wait for an occasion. This enormous plaster sculpture of the bones of a human foot is beautifully detailed and hand painted (even the bottom) right down to the texture of the bone and the color of the marrow. This piece was designed as a medical teaching aid, but is also a fascinating glimpse for us laymen into how complex and elegant our anatomy actually is. As Shakespeare said " What a piece of work is a man!" Or to quote a less lofty source, these bones are "creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky, they're all together ooky" (Adams Family theme song).

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On a more serious note, anatomy was of interest to artists even before the science of anatomy existed, many thousands of years before Christ. But the study of anatomy has been a passion shared by art and science down through the years.

The modern history of anatomical study became morally and legally problematic due to the increasing number of fresh cadavers needed to satisfy the growing number of medical and anatomical schools particularly in the UK, the US, Canada, and parts of Europe. The need for specimens for anatomical dissection and study drove unscrupulous entrepreneurs to grave robbing, quite a profitable enterprise - so profitable, in fact, that in the late 1820's there was a series of high profile murders committed in Scotland in order to fulfill the growing need for fresh corpses.

Concurrently, as medicine and anatomical study moved toward the 20th C, the shared history of art and anatomy beginning with the Venus of Willendorf down through the anatomical drawings of Leonardo, moved into a new phase with the creation of anatomical teaching models, the first of which was created in the 17th C. This collaboration between art and science was continued as sculptors advanced this art of medical model making through the 18th and 19th centuries. These models were first created in wax and papier mache, and then plaster like this one, and eventually began to provide an alternative for anatomical teaching that had previously been the exclusive realm of cadavers. And as the ethical implications of procuring fresh cadavers became increasingly troublesome, the art of medical model making became popularized to provide enduring anatomical teaching models on a widespread basis.

Although objects similar to these are still made of plastic today, science has advanced, and these old models are now appreciated for their artistic qualities and viewed as sculpture. And much like early Indian Clubs which were also originally manufactured for a specific purpose, they are considered to be Folk Art and collected as such. (Indian Clubs by Alice J Hoffman - author, William Abranowicz - photographer, published by Harry N Abams, 1996)

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CONDITION is very good overall with some expected dings and what looks like minor retouching to the paint. There are also some very fine hairline cracks (three I think) in the tops of the metatarsal (top of the foot, instep) bones, but the piece is stable. I believe the whole piece is reinforced with metal armatures inside. The fibula and tibia (leg bones) are removable and are held in place by a hollow square stainless steel post. Removing the leg bones allowed students to study the joint below. I'm guessing the colors are accurate, what one might see on autopsy. There is a small hook-and-eye clasp that looks like it once attached the heel assembly to the ankle and forefoot, but the piece no longer disassembles at this connection - I'm not sure why. Late 19th - very early 20th C. Measures approximately 20" long, about 8" wide at the instep which is the widest point, and 15" to the top of the sawed off leg bone - in other words, can I see something in a size 26 EEEEEEEE?

While size may not be everything, this piece is impressively large, the perfect accessory to get your Halloween off on the right foot - and by the way, it is a right foot. Can you imagine a cooler centerpiece for the season? Or put it by the door to amaze trick-or-treaters. The rest of the year it can stand on its own, comfortably inside your cabinet of curiosities. I don't want to step on anyone's toes here (I'd feel like a heel), but I warn you - don't make a misstep and walk on by this one by. Bwaahahaha!

Item ID: RL-1112


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Huge Plaster Medical Anatomical Model of the Bones of the Foot - Folk Art - Skeleton - Hand Painted

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