JF Ptak Science Books Post 1479
Species of explosions come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and basically release some sort of energy (chemical, nuclear, mechanical and so on), but in the cases we'll look at here they are none-of-the-above. The energy released in these explosions are in the form of potential, a knowledge-driven, controlled and reversibly ordered demolition, a deconstruction in slow motion. The medical "explosion view" for the study of anatomy is a remarkable thing, especially when you considered not only the pre-Cat and pre-MRI times, but also the pre-Xray (1895) days of imaging the inside of the body--the images not only show you the bits and pieces alone but also in relation to the other bits around them. The body becomes an archaeological dig, each level preserved so that a viewer could easily see the dependencies and relations between one thing and another.
Take for example Paolo Mascagni's (1755-1815) beautiful Anatomia universale (an example seen above), which was printed in Florence in 1833 and has the look and sensibility of something much later. Mascagni is able to achieve this depth not only from the exploded view, but also for the (somewhat exaggerated) coloring setting the specimen on top of a blank background the combination of the color and the background giving the whole thing a 3-D-ish feel--and if not that, then certainly a living image in which there is some fair amount of depth.
When these views appear today--which is generally much more uncommon given the other technical ways of envisioning multiple layers of complex associated items--they have more of a sense of the antiquarian, retro feel to them, though they are no less useful for it. As a matter of fact I still prefer these views for understanding technical and engineering and architectural complexes than anything else. And the modern master of this genre for me is Stephen Beisty, who performs his magic mostly in the tech and engineering fields, but who occasionally dips into the messy wet stuff of biology, as we can see in this fabulous exploded view:
There are of course many other examples of (drawn) exploded views in the history of anatomical illustration, but I think these will do for now as good examples of the art.