|Published||[A Toulouse, De l'Imprimerie de J.F. Desclassan, Maitre-ez-Arts, pres le Place Royale. M.DCC.LXXIX. Avec Permission]|
|Dimensions||Image 125 x 232 mm, Plate 132 x 255 mm|
An anatomical vignette of a skeleton at study, prepared by Gamelin for his masterwork, the "Nouveau Recueil D'Osteologie et de Myologie, Dessine d'Apres Nature." The skeleton rests upon a monumental stone plinth, likely its own funerary monument. Its legs are outstretched and it turns its torso and skull away from the viewer to consult a series of anatomical drawings contained in a folio entitled 'Recueil d'Anatomie. In its left hand, it holds a pen or stylus. In the foreground to the extreme left, a pair of loose plates showing musculature rest against an hourglass.
Gamelin's "Nouveau Recueil D'Osteologie et de Myologie, Dessine d'Apres Nature" is an usual book. Straddling the line between scientific treatise and artist's patternbook, it is ostensibly a collection of illustrations of the skeletal and muscular systems. Interspersed between Gamelin's more traditional anatomical plates are scenes and vignettes playing with memento mori and vanitas themes. Some are serious in tone, showing the corpses of fallen men and animals on battle fields, the dissected bodies of condemned criminals, or explorations of crucifixion, while others are humorous or just plain bizarre, with cavorting skeletons harrassing society ladies in their finery, dancing jigs in Gothic operettas, or carrying off the living to join in various danses macabres.
Jacques Gamelin (1738-1803) was a French painter and engraver, active in Toulouse and Carcassone. He is best known for his paintings of battle scenes, as well as a collection of engravings of anatomical subjects published in the Nouveau Recueil D'Osteologie et de Myologie, Dessine d'Apres Nature.
Condition: Strong clean impression on a full sheet. Letterpress text in French and Latin above. Time toning to edges of sheet. Blank on verso.