The Macksey Journal


Universal access to the human body allows the body to serve as a common standard to which all things are measured against; an accessible analog. Societies cling to the comfort and stability of the universal human body when approaching new ideas. So naturally by the end of the European Renaissance (1450-1650) the prevalence of the human body in intellectual and artistic circles reflected the chaos brought on by new, unsettling Renaissance ideas. But with these new ideas and discoveries came a new understanding of embodiment: The Renaissance’s cultural construction of the human body. Previous historians have emphasized the advancement of medicine and the establishment of personal hygienic routines as constructing popular conceptions of the human body during the Renaissance. However, these ideas disregard the inherent union of science and humanities in stating that the cultural construction of the body was established by a single facet of the intellectual field, that being the scientific field of medicine. This paper serves to establish that the Late Renaissance image of the human body was created through the interdisciplinary efforts of Renaissance thinkers in the fields of art, anatomy, and political theory.