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Anatomical Drawing #1

Anatomical Drawing #2

From Pastels to PDA's: Medical Education from the 18th c. to the 21st c. exhibits our collection of sixteen Jan Van Rymsdyk anatomical drawings for the first time together in one display. Opening to the public on December 1, 2009, this exhibition is sure to engage visitors interested in the history of medicine.

Long before the use of the X-ray, CAT scan, ultrasound and digital technology, the use of images played an important role in the medical education of students. Anatomical illustrations were cutting edge in the eighteenth century, and Jan Van Rymsdyk was known as one of the best anatomical illustrators in the world. Van Rymsdyk has kept his stature over the past two and a half centuries.

These illustrations were created with crayon making them very susceptible to damage, however, they survived a trip across the ocean in 1762 to become a center of the medical education young men received. In a letter dated April 7, 1762, Fothergill stated, “I need not tell thee that the knowledge of anatomy is of exceeding great use to Practionors in Physic and Surgery & that the means of procuring Subjects with you are not easy.” Medical education was about to change forever in Philadelphia.

Fothergill further offered his opinion that the drawings “not to be seen by every Person but with the Permission of a Trustee & for some small Gratuity for the Benefitt of the House.” Heeding Dr. Fothergill's warning, the drawings were viewed on a limited basis and carefully housed to protect them. Today, as 247 years ago, the drawings are viewed on a limited basis making this exhibit a rare treat for the public. The exhibition will run until December 2010.

For more information please call 215-829-5434.


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