NATIONAL MEDICAL ARTISTS MEETING FEATURES BODY ATLAS CONTROVERSY

July 23, 1997
Media Contact: Marc Kusinitz
Phone: (410)955-8665
E-mail:mkusinit@welchlink.welch.jhu.edu

Johns Hopkins faculty will help host hundreds of medical illustrators at the 52nd annual convention of the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) in Baltimore from July 24 to July 28 at the Omni Hotel. The meeting will include a debate over use of an atlas of medical illustrations produced by Nazi artists during World War II, who may have used Jewish concentration camp victims as models.

The meeting of the 1,000-member AMI will be the first time in 20 years the group has convened in Baltimore, where the first school for medical art was founded at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1911.

The convention will include workshops and a salon displaying 500 pieces of art and computer animation, as well as lectures by Hopkins physicians Benjamin S. Carson, M.D., director of pediatric neurosurgery, and Curt Civin, M.D., a Hopkins pediatric oncologist. The art exhibit is open to the public on July 26 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and July 27 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The panel discussion on the controversy over an atlas of human anatomy focuses on the role of Eduard Pernkopf, a Nazi doctor, who was dean of the medical faculty at the University of Vienna during World War II. He oversaw production of the atlas, which critics say is infamous not only for the source of the illustrations, but also for the symbols of both the Nazi party and the SS, the Nazi police unit responsible for intelligence and security, which were incorporated into some of the artists' signatures. The discussion will be held Monday, July 28, at 10 a.m.

Called "Pernkopf Anatomy, Atlas of Topographic and Applied Human Anatomy," the book is also famous for its exquisite illustrations, according to Tim Phelps, associate professor in the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine, the meeting's coordinator. But many say they should neither be exhibited as art or used to teach anatomy because of their source, he adds.

The AMI convention coincides with an exhibit at Baltimore's Walters Art Gallery of the works of Max Broedel, the first director of the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine program at Hopkins. The exhibit, which opened April 8, runs through July 27.

Broedel, who came to Baltimore in 1894, a year after The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine was founded, illustrated the research and surgical procedures of many of the early Hopkins faculty.

The Department of Art as Applied to Medicine was founded with a donation of $160,000 from Baltimore philanthropist Henry Walters, for whom the Walters Art gallery is named.


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