The dissection of a young, beautiful woman directed by J. Ch. G. Lucae (1814-1885) in order to determine the ideal female proportions. Chalk drawing by J. H. Hasselhorst, 1864.

  • Hasselhorst, Johann Heinrich, 1825-1904.
  • Pictures
  • Online

Selected images from this work

View 2 images

About this work


This chalk drawing by J. H. Hasselhorst relates closely to an oil painting of the same subject in the Historisches Museum in Frankfurt and is probably a study for it. Small differences between the drawing and the painting are found, for example, in the shape of the chair back and in the stack of books on which the Frankfurt anatomist and anthropologist Johann Christian Gustave Lucae leans, next to the head of the cadaver. The drawing depicts the dissection of the body of an eighteen year-old woman who had killed herself, selected for its attractive proportions, in order to determine the ideal measurements of the female body. The results of this study were published by Lucae with plates by Hermann Junker in 1864 under the title: Zur Anatomie der schönen weiblichen Form. This was aimed both at artists and anatomists and Lucae later lectured on anatomy at the Frankfurt art academy for several years. In the foreground there is an instrument case and, to the left, an inverted cranium. Further skulls are visible on the shelves of the back wall. Next to the articulated female skeleton in the left background and in front of an illustration of the same subject attached to the wall are two figures who are identified as the artists Hasselhorst and Jacob Becker. One of them holds a cigar and its smoke is suffused in the light of the lamp. The surgeon, J. P. Sälzer, acting as prosector, is seated below the lamp and pulls back a flap of skin from the right thorax of the body



Physical description

1 drawing : black chalk ; image 33.6 x 41.6 cm


Hasselhorst Signed at lower right of drawing

References note

G. Mann, J. Ch. G. Lucae und die Senckenbergische Anatomie: eine Ikonographie, Frankfurt am Main 1963, p. 9, fig. 19
G. Wolf-Heidegger and A. M. Cetto, Die anatomische Sektion in bildlicher Darstellung, Basel and New York 1967, no. 285, pp. 335-336


Wellcome Collection 25532i

Where to find it

  • LocationStatusAccess
    Closed stores


Permanent link