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Minerva's French SistersWomen of Science in Enlightenment France$
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Nina Rattner Gelbart

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780300252569

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300252569.001.0001

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Anatomist and Inventor

Anatomist and Inventor

Marie-Marguerite Biheron and Her Medical Museum (1719–1795)

Chapter:
(p.166) Four Anatomist and Inventor
Source:
Minerva's French Sisters
Author(s):

Nina Rattner Gelbart

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300252569.003.0010

This chapter concerns anatomist Marie-Marguerite Biheron, who analyzed the human body, taking it apart in countless dissections to elucidate the hidden internal structures. It examines Biheron's “anatomie artificielle” that she fashioned, displayed, and taught with for decades in her private home museum. The chapter also looks at her models, made from a formula of her own invention that neither melted nor broke, which were said to imitate the human body with consummate precision. It reviews Biheron's study and dissection of actual corpses, too numerous to count and ongoing over decades, then mentions the first of three widely and wildly heralded anatomical demonstrations in the Académie des Sciences. The chapter then shifts to track how she grew up in the healing culture and forged her own independent but related medical path. Ultimately, the chapter examines the roles played by the renowned surgeon Sauveur Morand, gifted botanist and botanical illustrator Mlle Basseporte, philosopher Denis Diderot and the eclectic doctor Jacques Barbeu Dubourg in her study of human anatomy with the emphasis on modeling.

Keywords:   Marie-Marguerite Biheron, human body, anatomie artificielle, Académie des Sciences, Sauveur Morand, Mlle Basseporte, Denis Diderot, Jacques Barbeu Dubourg, human anatomy

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