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Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, November 2012

JACQUES GAMELIN (1738-1803) AND LAVALÉE, JACQUES.  Nouveau recueil d’ostéologie et de myologie.  1779

Gamelin,published this atlas of the bones and muscles for artists in an edition of 200 copies, engraved from drawings that Gamelin made at his own dissection facility with the assistance of professors of the College of Surgery of Toulouse. The first part of the work is devoted to bones; the second part concerns muscles. Gamelin personally engraved some plates; others are by Martin and Lavalée. The plates are larger, more artistically varied, and more expressive and fantastic in their conceptions than other works of its type. Allegorical scenes of death and battle appear throughout the book. Gamelin, in the preface to the second book, is critical of what he considered the typically unvaried nature of the figures in anatomical illustrations. His figures are distinguished by their bold and dramatic nature poses, such as the écorché crucifixion in the second book or this remarkable praying skeleton from the first.

Gamelin illustration