Human Anatomy in the Romantic Style

Human Anatomy in the Romantic Style

In the Romantic Style: Creating Intimacy, Fantasy and Charm in the Contemporary Homeby Linda Chase and Laura Cerwinske (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1990)

Human Anatomy: A Visual History from the Renaissance to the Digital Age by Benjamin A. Rifkin, Michael J. Ackerman, and Judith Folkenberg (New York: Abrams, 2006)

The Illustrations from the Works of Andreas Vesalius of Brussels by J. B. deC. M. Saunders and Charles D. O'Malley (Cleveland: World Publishing Company, 1950)

Atlas of Human Anatomy by Franz Frose, Max Broedel, Leon Schlossberg (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1970)

The Human Body in Health & Disease by Gary A. Thibodeau and Kevin T. Patton (St. Louis: Mosby Year Book, 1992)


Whether they are a reverie of sweet disorder or an elaborate staging of domestic theater, rooms decorated in the romantic style reflect a sheer exuberance for life." (p. 8)

"The naked niche--an inviting but odd architectural punctuation, concise and contained, gaping for attention. Should it be filled with putti, used to contain a bust? Fitting choices, perhaps, but predictable. Rather the poetry of this romantic little stage is brought to life when composed with the unexpected." (p. 38)

Human Anatomy in the Romantic Style—April 24, 2014

This post is--prepare yourself—post-Romantic, though not yet Decadent. "April is the cruellest month," says The Wasteland, but May is cruel, too, in a modern way. And December, in a post-modern. And cruel, too, all the months that put us in mind of mortality and work. Wandering lonely as a cloud is not consistent with getting anything done, and there are things to do, as deadlines make clear. Dead lines. 

So at night, when a DVD of a guttering candle might cast a virtually eerie light on our new furniture, I have been cutting life into art.

A book aimed at bringing that nightingale look to your well-decorated Southern California McMansion forms the base, and the superstructure comes from the history of human anatomy.

"My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains / My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk..."

That interior life, deep in the heart, inhabits these chambers.

Flayed humanity (idea for new Broadway musical = Forever Flayed?), it turns out, "walks in beauty."


She walks in beauty, like the night

   Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that’s best of dark and bright

   Meet in her aspect and her eyes;

Thus mellowed to that tender light

   Which heaven to gaudy day denies.


One shade the more, one ray the less,

   Had half impaired the nameless grace

Which waves in every raven tress,

   Or softly lightens o’er her face;

Where thoughts serenely sweet express,

   How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.


And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,

   So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,

The smiles that win, the tints that glow,

   But tell of days in goodness spent,

A mind at peace with all below,

   A heart whose love is innocent!


Soon, a sequel, Human Anatomy in the Romantic Landscape—dissections along the Hudson River.