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Wax male anatomical figure, Italian, 1776-1780

This wax model is a half life-size figure showing the muscles and bones of the body in a superficial dissection. This style of model is known as écorché. It is part of a series, which show layer after layer of tissue being removed to reveal the internal structure of the body. The life-size versions were used in the Zoological Museum of the University of Florence, known as La Specola, by the Grand Duke of Tuscany when teaching anatomy to students. The series was probably made by the workshops of Clemente Susini (1754-1814). Susini was one of the greatest wax modellers of the age, famous for his accurate anatomical detail in both structure and colour.

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Glossary: anatomical figure

Highly detailed models of the full human figure for artists, teachers and medical practitioners.

Glossary: anatomy

A branch of medical science concerned with the structure of living organisms.

Glossary: dissection

The cutting apart and separation of body tissues for the purposes of critical examination. Dissection of corpses is often carried out for the study of anatomy.

Glossary: écorché

A figure showing the muscles of the body without skin. An écorché can be a figure that is drawn, painted or sculpted.