Saturday, December 14, 2013

Musée Fragonard de l'Ecole - Paris Part 3

If there is a single most surprising experience in the group from across the drink then it is the Fragonard Museum. This place takes some energy to find but the easiest way is to simply go to the École Nationale Vétérinaire de Maisons-Alfort which is avery old veterinary school in the Paris suburb of Maisons-Alfort. There you will find the Museum and all its splendors! Named after the Professor of Anatomy that was ( after 6 years ) thrown out of the school as a madman, this museum holds what some may consider the stuff of nightmares and what I consider sublime.
Below are just a sample of images from the museum's collection.

Anatomical models and preserved organs in plentitude. 

Anatomical anomalies of every variety.

Specimen after specimen that would make a carnival proprietor drool.

And finally the work that got Fragonard sent packing as a lunatic. Flayed human cadavers. The last room of the museum is home to the only surviving examples of his work. It is thought that Fragonard created around 700 of these preserved dissections. Once he was dismissed from the school he continued to make them for private collectors in his own studio. So much for reigning in the madness!

The Horseman of the Apocalypse- based on the print by Albrecht Dürer

An interesting side note to all of this is that Honoré Fragonard was cousin to Jean-Honoré Fragonard the rococo painter. This lead me to wonder, given Fragonard the anatomist's tendency for creating flayed remains based on artworks, if he had ever considered his cousin's "The Swing" as subject matter. That I would like to see.

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