Ann Starr is an independent scholar and visual artist based in Wellesley, Massachusetts. She will be presenting this paper, with copious illustrations, to the Wood Institute brown-bag seminar, 12:00 noon, April 17, at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (19 South 22nd Street, Philadelphia 19103).
This paper looks at pictures from the pages of early modern works about monsters in light of Ms. Starr's interest in whether the pictured persons were ever observed (i.e. "real") or not (the fantastical monsters.) Ms. Starr draws on her experience as a visual artist whose work involves observational drawing of preserved abnormal infants and fetuses. What can her direct exposure to these persons suggest about sources for the pictures of monsters "of whom it was said..." Is there any way to sort out the fantasies from the facts?
Ms. Starr's interest in life drawing long ago directed her to the interior of the body and consequently into issues of medical art--medicine being the discipline that allows one access to the interior and to any form of the body considered pathological. Her art-making gave rise to her intellectual interests, which she pursues through lectures and writing. She has recently spoken about images of monsters at the Wellcome Trust units at University College London and the University of East Anglia, and to the Natural History Cabinet at Cambridge. She will present a paper at an international conference on the Normal and Abnormal at the Wellcome Trust center at the University of Manchester this summer.
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