The Wellcome Collection, The Most Recommendable Site for Finding Medicine in art
A collection of medical objects, images and works of art that forges a link between medicine, illness and art.
Inaugurated in 2007 in London, the Wellcome Collection is an extremely out- of-the-ordinary art exhibition. It is a collection of diverse artistic expressions and historical objects relating to medicine, its history, illness and art.
The Wellcome Collection is part of the Wellcome Trust, founded in 1936 by Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853-1936), a traveler and collector of books, paintings and works relating to the history of the development of medicine. The fund was created initially to support research and improve the health of people and animals; it was born “to achieve extraordinary improvements in health by supporting the brightest minds.”
The museum exhibits medical articles and works relating to the relationship between medicine, illness, life and art. It has collections of ancient healing instruments from all over the world, spaces for temporary exhibitions, and a library. Today there is a section dedicated to contemporary medicine in which one of the main themes is the human genome and the study of it.
For its part, Wellcome Images is the name of the collection’s image archive, and which is available to all for consultation online. The images cover a wide range, from the history of society and medicine to contemporary images relating to health and biomedicine. Medicine, magic, science, witchcraft and antique books can also be found in this vast graphic archive.
The existence of the Wellcome Collection and the approach it offers to art are capable of reminding us of one of the most important abilities that humans possess: the capacity to find beauty and the aesthetic act in a place where we normally would not look for it: in illness, human biology, medicine and all that surrounds it – technology, research, history, etc. It is all about an aesthetic that stems from healing and preserving life, an aesthetic and visceral journey through the entrails of the human body, its affectations and landscapes.
Images courtesy of the Wellcome Collection:
1. Mouse brain, coronal view
2. Distribution of metabolites in a mouse kidney
3. Muscles of the back in a female
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