Wellcome, Collection Family Coolen, Antwerp/Museum Dr Guislain, Ghent, Belgium
Anatomical Venuses were very popular in the 19th century. They were realistic wax models of idealised women with detachable parts which showed their internal organs in great detail.
Today I turned myself into an anatomical Venus at St Bartholomew's Hospital Museum of Pathology, known as Barts Pathology Museum, for a life drawing workshop arranged by Art Macabre.
My internal organs were painted on me and I posed in the main gallery, surrounded by skeletons and pathological pots. Barts hosts the skull of John Bellingham, who assassinated Prime Minister Spencer Percival in 1812. Barts is also the place where famously Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson met, in Conan Doyle's novel A Study in Scarlet.
Barts Museum. Photo: BartsThis was my first assignment with Art Macabre, an untutored life drawing workshop for people of all abilities, in the museum surroundings. I posed together with life model Steve Ritter.
Barts is a very peculiar museum, inside a hospital right in the City of London, in a gorgeous Grade II listed building.
I arrived early and was greeted by loud music in an empty gallery. I recognised the music as being of one of my favourite bands, Smashing Pumpkins. Imagine that, grunge at Barts!
Later I met Carla Valentine, assistant curator, who said she often listened to music when no one was in the building. I told her I liked her choice of music, so we agreed on a playlist that featured Smashing Pumpkins while I posed.
Meanwhile Nikkie, from Art Macabre, came with lots of stuff, began to set up and Bloody Marys were offered to the guests. I did not realise how strong they were! I felt quite dizzy after a couple, I don't know how I managed to keep still - never drink while life modelling, that's all I have to say. Afterwards yes, but never before or while still doing it.
Me posing at Barts