Reading Group: Fend/Guerrini

Mechthild Fend & Anita Guerrini

Renaissance Skin Reading Group

Join us to explore the relationship between anatomy and art in interrogating and constructing early modern concepts of skin.

The Renaissance Skin Reading Group will meet for the first time to discuss the relationship between anatomy and art in interrogating and constructing early modern concepts of skin. We will read selections from two recent works:

  • Mechthild Fend, Fleshing Out Surfaces; Skin in French Art and Medicine, 1650-1850 (Manchester University Press, 2017): Introduction and Chapter 6
  • Anita Guerrini, The Courtiers' Anatomists; Animals and Humans in Louis XIV's Paris (Chicago, 2105): Introduction and Chapter 3
The purpose of meeting is not just to discuss these books independently, but to think about how they relate. We hope to think broadly about how surgical, anatomical, and artistic practices interrelated in the early modern period, and how we, as historians, can make sense of the bodies of sources they left behind. We will also discuss discipline and methodology, and how historians can, or should, think historically across human and animal bodies. To field questions and broaden the scope of this discussion, Mechthild Fend (UCL), author of Fleshing Out Surfaces, has kindly agreed to attend. As the first meeting of an ongoing discussion group, we hope for about ninety minutes of informal, friendly, and stimulating conversation - of course followed by wine!

This event is open to participants from any discipline and at any stage of study. To attend, please register by emailing the team (see Contact page). The readings will be circulated in advance, once registered. We encourage anyone to bring materials, images, anecdotes, and ideas for discussion. There is no deadline to register but attendance will be guaranteed on a first-come first-served basis.

Image: A surgeon preparing to let blood by cupping, his apprentice warming the cupping glass. Oil painting attributed to Jan Baptist Lambrechts © Wellcome Library, London