Frank Netter and Eric Carle joined forces. Well not really, but if they had, they just might have created the anatomy pop-up books on display in Animated Anatomies, a new exhibit at Duke University’s Perkins Library. Anatomical flap books featuring cut away layers of tissue and viscera began appearing in the 17th century. Left, an image from Francesco Minniti’s 1690 work, Armonia astro-medica-anatomica.
Animated Anatomies explores the visually stunning and technically complex genre of printed texts and illustrations known as anatomical flap books. These publications invite the viewer to participate in virtual autopsies, through the process of unfolding their movable leaves, simulating the act of human dissection. This exhibit traces the flap book genre beginning with early examples from the sixteenth century, to the colorful “golden age” of complex flaps of the nineteenth century, and finally to the common children’s pop-up anatomy books of today.