(preserved infant from Ruysch’s collection)
Dr Frederik Ruysch conducted public anatomy theatres in 17th century Holland. During the warmer months, these theatres were turned into cabinets of rarities. Six human skeletons, taken from executed criminals, stood on the visitor’s galleries, holding placards saying such things as Memento Mori or Homo Bulla.
“pinhole camera” by Wayne Martin Belger
In Holland one of the earliest locations for the Amsterdam anatomy theatre was housed in St. Margaret’s Church, directly opposite the ‘New or Little Meat Hall‘. William Heckscher quotes a poem taken from an engraving of the church which reads
images by Sarah Illenberger
The two meat halls which you see here are well equipped with beautiful “meat“, beautiful inside and out, and so much of it that one hardly knows where it all goes. Come on, little ladies, if you feel like investing your money; buy as much as your heart desires – from this kind of “flesh” your spouses won’t grow horns...
In the image below the skeleton in the right foreground girdles its hips with injected sheep intestines, its right hand grasping a spear made of the hardened vas deferens of an adult man. On the left behind a handsome vase made of the inflated tunica albuginae of the testis is an elegant little skeleton with a feather on its head and a stone coughed up from the lungs hanging in its hand (Antonie Luyendijk-Elshout)