Vesalius gets under your skin
In 2014 Vesalius enchanted the people of Leuven. The city granted the renowned anatomist a main role in exhibitions, dance, theatre, music, city explorations, and lectures. The beating heart of the project was the exhibition ‘Vesalius. Imagining the Body’, organised at M - Museum in Leuven.
500 year Vesalius
Using the title ‘Vesalius gets under your skin’, the university city of Leuven celebrated the 500th anniversary of the renowned scientist and anatomist Andreas Vesalius.
Between 1530 and 1537, Vesalius spent a few years in Leuven as a student. He also carried out a number of dissections in Leuven. Street names and buildings and institutions that were named after him still remind the visitor of the man who gave the discipline of medicine a decisive turn. For this project, a number of cultural organisations in Leuven, and the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) were inspired by Vesalius and the human body. A rich and varied cultural programme, looking at Vesalius and the human body from various angles and artistic disciplines, emerged from this initial inspiration.
Vesalius. Imagining the body
M - Museum Leuven explored the impact of the figure of Andreas Vesalius in the exhibition ‘Vesalius. Imagining the Body’. Both the medical anatomical traditions and the artistic representation of the human body were examined. Curator Geert Vanpaemel used Vesalius’ magnum opus Humani Corporis of 1543 as a starting point for the exhibition. Vesalius’ meticulous anatomical descriptions, and the beautiful images they provoked, inspired both doctors and artists for hundreds of years.
An exhibition that will send shivers down your spine
In addition to the art historical exhibition, M-Museum also dedicated a monographic show to Markus Schinwald. In this solo exhibition, the visitor was presented with a range of paintings, sculptures, aquariums, films, installations, and live performances.
A rich cultural programme
Apart from the exhibitions in M-Museum, a number of other activities took place in the city of Leuven. For example, a strong dance component was part of the events. The different theatre companies in Leuven chose to focus their programming on the concept of the body. Through fascinating city walks, a number of places which hold specific relevance to the figure Vesalius were opened up to members of the public. A particularly extensive and diverse range of lectures on the historical context and contemporary medical developments completed the festival.
A total of 150,433 people took part in the city festival. The Vesalius exhibition in M-Museum reached 58,127 visitors.