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National Library of Medicine (NLM)

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Robert Mehnert
or Kathy Cravedi
NLM Public Information
(301) 496-6308

Outstanding Examples of Medical Illustration Go on Display at National Library of Medicine; Art and Anatomy Meet in New Exhibition, "Anatomical Revisioning"

Bethesda, Maryland — “Medical illustrators draw what can’t be seen, watch what’s never been done, and tell thousands about it without saying a word.”*

Medical illustrators, who combine the precision of science with the creativity of fine art, then add a dash of the problem-solving skills of a mechanical engineer and the spatial awareness of an architect, meet that tall order often. In “Anatomical Revisioning,” a new exhibition at the National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland, you’ll have a rare chance to see them working at the very top of their game.

The exhibition, located in the first floor foyer on the National Library of Medicine (NIH Building #38), 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland, opens June 12, 2003 and can be viewed through September 12, 2003.

“These artworks — for that’s truly what they are — are selections from recent juried, award-winning medical illustrations by professional members of the Association of Medical Illustrators. Each year, the AMI Salon represents the best professional medical illustration from around the world,” said Anne Altemus, President of the Association of Medical Illustrators, who also works as a medical illustrator at NLM. “They serve a host of different functions, from teaching doctors new cardiac surgery procedures, to showing National Geographic readers a facial reconstruction of a prehistoric skull, to conveying the dangers of alcohol consumption in an anatomical chart.”

“The media of the pieces are equally diverse,” Altemus continued, “ranging from traditional pen and ink drawings to those created completely with computer software. In this single exhibition, a person interested in medical illustration or someone new to the field can see in microcosm the many important ways that practitioners of this discipline explain medical concepts through art.”

The works in the show are all contemporary, and the field of medical illustration certainly continues to thrive, even in the age of computers. “In my view, medical illustrators are more important than ever,” noted Donald A.B. Lindberg, NLM Director. He continued, “As medical and scientific information exponentially expands, as the methods of visual creation continue to grow, and as the ways in which information is distributed to doctors, patients and the public proliferate, medical illustration takes those concepts and methods — both the simple and the complex — and brings them to life. Medical illustrators will continue to be artists, scientists, storytellers and visual problem solvers as long as there is a need to educate doctors, students and the world about medical science,” he concluded.

The National Library of Medicine, on the campus of the National Institutes of Health, is just off Rockville Pike in Bethesda, Maryland. “Anatomical Revisioning” can be viewed Mondays through Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. From Labor Day to Memorial Day, the Library is also open Thursday nights until 9:00 p.m.

The National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical library, is a part of the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Note to editors: An illustration by William Andrews, “Structures of the Midbrain,” is at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/news/press_releases/images/midbrain.jpg and may be downloaded.

* Association of Medical Illustrators

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