In 1807 the London surgeon and anatomist Charles Bell was called by his friend Thomas Bruce, the Earl of Elgin, to view the friezes of the Parthenon, recently brought to London, having been taken from their original home in Greece. Bell was asked to assess the statues as an anatomist and to analyze their representations of the human form. Why would an anatomist participate in such an activity? The answer, as it turns out, has a great deal to do with the ways in which science, art, and religion were fundamentally related to each other. Carin Berkowitz is the executive director of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities and author of Charles Bell and the Anatomy of Reform. She is also co-editor of Science Museums in Transition: Cultures of Display in Nineteenth-Century Britain and America and author of several articles on the uses of images and objects in anatomy.
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