Anatomical pieces | Théodore Géricault | 1818
In the last post about Géricault, we saw that the artist was commissioned with a series of 10 portraits of patients who were hospitalized in La Salpêtrière, the mental asylum from Paris. In this period, Géricault borrowed human remains from the morgue to paint them. Anatomical pieces cannot be categorized as an artistic study of human anatomy, because the remains are separated from the body, reason for which they have no value for this purpose. Neither can be thought as a still life (although the “stillness” is redundant). Compositions with vegetables, man-made objects and, even, dead animals don’t cause us the same level of rejection as this painting and that’s because the artist tries to give life to something dead. As we are all terrified with the idea of death and knowing that our body is eventually going to be the object of decomposition and oblivion, Anatomical pieces shocks us for its morbidity.