Imaging/Imagining: The Body as Art

March 25 – June 22, 2014

Arthur Pond and Charles Knapton, Nude Female Carrying Water Jars (after Raphael), 1734, Etching and woodblock on wove paper. Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, University Transfer from Max Epstein Archive, Gift of Max Epstein, 1937, 1976.145.358.

For centuries, depicting the body has been essential to practitioners of art as well as medicine.

Drawing the human form is a fundamental component of art pedagogy, while medical doctors have long relied on anatomical illustrations to understand what goes on inside the body. Yet the advent of advanced imaging technology now allows us to see structures and processes that were long inaccessible to the eye, taking away the artist’s “hand” and reducing the role of subjective imagination.

Organized by physicians at the University of Chicago, this exhibition gathers images of the body from a range of historical periods and considers the extent to which they conform to established representational conventions or seem instead to reflect the artist’s own observations or expressive goals.

Other themes to be considered are the enduring role of figure drawing in academic art study; the relation between artistic and scientific abstraction; the depiction of bodily suffering in wartime; and what art and medicine have to offer each other in the pursuit of accuracy, humanity, and empathy, when it comes to representing the body.

Imaging/Imagining: The Human Body in Anatomical Representation

This multi-venue exhibition explores the history of anatomical representation and the evolving relationship between the arts and medical science.

Imaging/Imagining: The Body as Text
March 25–June 20
Special Collections Research Center

Imaging/Imagining: The Body as Art
March 25-June 22
Smart Museum of Art 

Imaging/Imagining: The Body as Data
March 25-June 20
The John Crerar Library

Presented in collaboration with the UChicago Arts|Science Initiative.

Free Public Programs

April 5, 2014
Family Day: Ultrasounds, Exquisite Corpses

April 17, 2014
The Body in 3D
The John Crerar Library, Kathleen A. Zar Room

April 17, 2014
Seeing Into and Seeing Through: The Promise and Peril of Imaging Lecture by Dr. Richard B. Gunderman
Regenstein Library, room 122

April 17, 2014
Third Thursday: How to Draw Hands

May 15, 2014
Family Day: Drawing the Body with the Body
featuring the Shirley Mordine Dance Company