“The Spanish painter Enrique Simonet y Lombardo, in the last year of the nineteenth century, … produced an admirable canvas showing the anatomic exploration of a woman’s body. … an old man holds in his hand the heart he has just extracted from the cadaver. The professor gazes at it admiringly, as though he might be able to discover in this mass of muscle and blood a trace of feeling, a last breath of life. … the pictorial argument rests on the opposition between the objective and the subjective; the civilized and the savage; the masculine and the feminine. … The solitude of this figure in black, who contemplates with incredulity the trophy he has just ripped from the body, is more than just slightly perturbing. The axis of the painting is the triangle formed by the heart in the anatomist’s left hand, the scalpel in his right hand, and his sad, almost perplexed, ecstatic and incredulous expression as he contemplates the remains of the dead young woman. The painting’s marked chiaroscuro, the contrast in light between scientific activity and the deathly passivity, the profile of the anatomist and the foreshortening of the corpse, along with the neutral background of the room, make up the basic themes of the work. The painting was initially called “And She Had a Heart!”, and only later came to be known as ‘Anatomy of the Heart.’ ”
Javier Moscoso, Pain: A Cultural History
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