Fragonard Museum – The Écorchés
by Christophe Degueurce
611.00924 F842m 2011 Greenfield Open Stacks
The name Fragonard usually reminds us of Jean-Honore Fragonard (1732-1809), the painter. This Fragonard is Honore Fragonard (1732-1799), Jean-Honore’s cousin and an anatomist. Trained as a surgeon, Fragonard was deeply interested in human anatomy and how it compared to other animals, asking questions and demanding scientific explanations during the Age of Enlightenment.
Fragonard also wanted to provide visual learning tools for others in the medical field. He accomplished this by masterfully dissecting and preserving cadavers. Today, twenty-one of his original écorchés (French for “flayed,” so literally referring to the opening up or peeling back of the body) are on display at the Fragonard Museum in Paris. He is considered a pioneer of the study of modern day anatomy and his work can be appreciated both for its scientific ingenuity and artistic skill.