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Image of Flesh/Flesh of the Image: the Flayed Figure in Henri de Mondeville’s Chirurgia

Rozenberg, LSZ; (2019) Image of Flesh/Flesh of the Image: the Flayed Figure in Henri de Mondeville’s Chirurgia. Object , 20 10.14324/111.2396-9008.037. Green open access

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Abstract

In a fourteenth-century copy of Henri de Mondeville's Chirurgia (Cambridge, Trinity College, MS 0.2.44), a flayed human body carries its skin on a staff, displaying the underlying fleshy tissues. The unpainted drawing illustrates Mondeville's discussion of flesh and fat. Taking this image as its main focus, this article is concerned with the fleshiness of the medieval image. It considers medieval understanding of flesh to examine the relationship between flesh and the figure in the Chirurgia. I explore closely the relationship between parchment, a support made of skin, and the pen-drawing on its surface. Moreover, I draw on Maurice Merleau-Ponty's ontology of flesh, which postulates an association between visuality and flesh. Overall, the article argues that the drawing formulates a discourse on flesh. It is not merely a depiction of flesh but rather, I contend, becomes fleshy in the interaction with the viewer.

Type: Article
Title: Image of Flesh/Flesh of the Image: the Flayed Figure in Henri de Mondeville’s Chirurgia
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.14324/111.2396-9008.037
Keywords: history of art, Anatomy, medieval, manuscripts, history of medicine, flesh, visibility, medieval art, medieval medicine
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Dept of History of Art
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10066253
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