Pernkopf to present day

The anatomical atlas, Topographische Anatomie des Menschen, has been recognized as a work “of unsurpassed beauty.” The atlas was the work of Austrian physician and anatomist Edward Pernkopf from 1933 until his death in 1955. As editor, Pernkopf completed the dissections and directed the work of the painters contributing to the atlas. Personally, Pernkopf was a dedicated member of the Nazi party. As the director of the University of Vienna Medical School, Pernkopf oversaw unethical sourcing of bodies for dissection. The watercolors in Pernkopf’s atlas are sometimes considered masterpieces of anatomical illustration. However, creation and use of the atlases has sparked a continuing discussion of medical ethics and use of anatomical atlases contaminated by a controversial background. An exhibit documenting the history of the Pernkopf atlas is currently on view in Bailey Library. This Kaleidoscope Arts Festival event is sponsored by Bailey Library and the History Department.