Anatomical Horse

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Giambologna's anatomical horse lies at the heart of University of Edinburgh Art collections. Likely designed in the 1580s, it represents the musculature of a horse for the purpose of anatomical study, so capturing university disciplines across the arts and sciences. Dating to the same period as the foundation of the University of Edinburgh, it represents our historic quest to further knowledge in every domain. This essay uses the object to trace a history of Renaissance scientific and artistic enquiry into anatomy. The sculpture issued from the great bronze foundries of the Florentine Renaissance, made in light of Leonardo and Michelangelo’s historic quest to understand the mechanics of the body ‘under the skin’. It was gifted to the University of Edinburgh in 1836 by Sir James Erskine of Torrie in Fife who was private secretary to George III and soldier to Wellington as well as a practicing artist, and whose art collection forms the original nucleus of University of Edinburgh’s collections. The essay forms part of an exhibition publication bringing together University of Edinburgh staff, students, and curators, as well as colleagues from the National Galleries of Scotland with whom we share the Torrie Collection. It marks 180 years of university art collecting as a celebration of our distinctive past, present, and future, through teaching and research with university collections. As such, this essay on the Renaissance study of an anatomical horse embodies our shared enquiry in university art and science in the common pursuit of universal understanding.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUniversity of Edinburgh Torrie Collection
EditorsGenevieve Warwick, Emily Moore, Andrew Smith
PublisherTalbot Rice Gallery
ISBN (Print)978-1-904443-75-9
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2017

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