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February 05, 2011

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gwyn michael

What a fascinating illustration!!! I would LOVE to see it in person. The whole book in fact. What struck me before I even examined the image closely is the first piece of scripture.
"26: And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."
So man in Gods image has dominion over all?
Whenever I read that (which is not to say often) I think, look how well that has turned out. If this is Gods grand plan giving us dominion was a really bad choice. Perhaps that is why the baby skeletons are crying? Doubtful, but I like that interpretation.

John F. Ptak

Interesting perspective Gwyn, thanks. I do not claim any expertise whatsoever in Bible matters, so I cannot tell if Man is given reign over all things on/of the Earth or the Earth itself. If the later, then watch out. I dunno about the weeping skeleton--putting it in the 1680's/90's when it was conceived, it was difficult to conceive of contemporary writers writing about dominion over anything. I think might be an Adam's-fall symbolism. But I don't know, really.

David Bimler

Please excuse me for coming to this thread a year late... I wasn't spending so much time at the Bookstore a year ago.
The weeping fetal skeleton is a straight copy from one of Frederik Ruysch's anatomical preparations, from about 1710:
http://www.zymoglyphic.org/exhibits/ruysch/ruysch1.jpg

I suspect the others are from the same source.

Of course the question remains, *why* the author thought that the illustrations would be enhanced by a frame of fetal memento mori.

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