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Defining Features: Scientific and Medical Portraits, 1660-2000
by Ludmilla Jordanova
Reaktion Books, 2000
eISBN: 978-1-78023-153-2 | Paper: 978-1-86189-059-7

Portraiture as a genre is receiving increased attention at the same time that public curiosity about science is reaching unprecedented levels. Published to coincide with a major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London, from 14 April – 17 September 2000, and the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia, from 27 September – 10 December 2000, Defining Features brings portraiture and science together.

Ludmilla Jordanova's lucid text reflects on the nature of the relationship between art, science, medicine and technology by focusing on a selection of portraits that spans more than three centuries. Illustrated with likenesses of such notable personalities as Edward Jenner, Marie Curie, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Dorothy Hodgkin, and encompassing a variety of media from paintings and medals to bookmarks and key rings, Defining Features charts changing attitudes towards medical practice and scientific investigation, as well as exploring how notions of gender, heroism, popularization and celebrity have affected the public's understanding of how researchers do their work.

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