by Thomas Strand
The storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 symbolized the beginning of the French Revolution, plunging the country into a decade-long period of social and political turmoil.
At the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine, we decided to commemorate this pivotal day by sharing a captivating image from one of our rare 18th century French anatomical texts, Nouveau recueil d’ostéologie et de myologie (1779) by the painter and engraver Jacques Gamelin (1738-1803).
The title translates to New Collection of Osteology and Myology. Gamelin sought to make his work appealing to anatomists and artists alike, as is evident in this symbolic image found on the title page: one is tempted to label it as a harbinger for the morbid Revolution that would begin ten years following the text’s publication.
Despite producing only 200 first edition copies, Gamelin’s masterpiece was not commercially successful, and many unsold copies were destroyed.
Come visit the Wangensteen Library to peruse our collection of over 80,000 rare texts and artifacts spanning half a millennium, from 1430 to 1930.