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These beautiful wax models of sensuous women lying supine, with their heads tipped back, and lips parted in ecstasy, look like they are from a renaissance painting. One idly toys with her plait of golden hair, while another clutches at a satin cushion. One is crowned with a golden tiara, while another wears a string of pearls around her neck. Yet, each and everyone of them has their abdomen slashed open causing their innards and guts to spill out.

These bizarre beauties called “Anatomical Venuses” were created by sculptor Clemente Susini in the late eighteenth century, and were conceived as a means to teach human anatomy without the need for dissecting real human bodies which was disgusting and messy. Susini’s uncannily lifelike wax models, often adorned with real human hair, were both anatomically accurate and profoundly artistic, drawing praise from both doctors and art historians from all around. During his illustrious career as a medical wax model sculptor spanning several decades, Clemente Susini created and oversaw the production of more than 2,000 models.


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© Amusing Planet, 2016.

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