Archive for June, 2012



June 30, 2012

We have only recently discovered this guy, and we are glad we did.  We are in awe! 

His work is simply so beautiful and to top things off, a hell of a lot of it includes skulls- Craniophile heaven!

and what else do we love on skull paintings… anatomy!  This handsome fellow has a infraorbital foramen on his cheek, nasal concha in his nose (remember we spoke about them here?) and orbital fissures.  Additionally he appears to have chipped his tooth on a particularly crunchy moth, revealing pulp chamber in a couple of his front chompers- if he was living, this ‘hole’ would be full of dental pulp, veins and nerves (and he would be a bit sore). 

Jon MDC maintains a number of sites, which are all linked from the main site here.  Keep your eyes open, I have spotted a few things for sale, or if you are really keen, get in contact and get him to do a commissioned piece for you!

Next time we are in the UK, we are definitely hitting this guy up for a tattoo!


The Ambassadors

June 20, 2012

The Ambassadors was painted by Hans Holbein in 1533.  The meaning behind the painting has been hotly debated, as has the identity of the 2 rotund gentlemen that grace the stage.

Notice anything missing?

No… we haven’t lost the plot… there is a skull there, you just need to look closer… or look at it from a different angle!

See the blob on the carpet?  There it is!  This is an example of anamorphic image- or an image that appears skewed or unrecognisable from front on, but when viewed from a different angle is perfectly clear.  We can see the skull if we turn out computer to the side, but incase you cant see it from the right angle- here it is:

Now in terms of the craniophile philosophy we are going a little outside of the box… there isn’t much anatomy or science to see here.  In fact, it looks like there has been an extra squamous suture added to the side of the skull making it look like a skull rainbow!  However, this skewed skull was just too cool to resist.

It currently hangs in the National Gallery in London so if you are a Londoner or a lucky holidayer head down and see if you can see the skull!


Laurie Lipton

June 14, 2012

We have a confession to make.

As you might have already gathered we while away many a spare hour admiring art from various artists and galleries… that is how we first encountered Laurie Lipton.  The gallery was Copro and the art was Empress of Death.  This isn’t the confession though…

the confession… is that we thought it was a photo.  We thought that Laurie had gotten an anatomical dummy and posed it accordingly before taking a photo- maybe then etching in some of the embellishments.

Are we embarrassed about this little misunderstanding?  Hell no!  To us, it just proves how amazing an artist she is.  And that we should wear our glasses more (don’t tell the optometrist…)

Here is the Empress of Death.  With those perfectly formed phalanges, carpals and metacarpals (finger and hand bones) and the partly toothless smile, surely we aren’t the only ones to be tricked!

If you like Laurie’s work you can have a closer look on her website and facebook page.


Some skulls lie!

June 12, 2012

But don’t blame the skulls, it’s not their fault!



SKULL APPRECIATION DAY (week)!! Day 7- Beauchene skulls

June 10, 2012

And here we are… the final day of our Skull Appreciation Day (week)!  Thank you to everyone who has made suggestions for posts and we apologise to anyone if we didn’t have time to talk about your favourite skull- we only had room for 7!!  Please keep sending us any suggestions you have, it might not be skull appreciation day (week) anymore, but we will keep appreciating skulls all year round and are always looking for great skulls to admire!

We think we have saved the best for last- todays skull is not one skull in particular, but rather a skull related process.  Beauchening (we may have just invented that word…) is a process by where a skull is fully disarticulated (taken apart) and reassembled on a frame to allow a view of all the individual bones which make the skull.  You may have spotted an example in our first post of the S.A.D. week here, sitting in front of Max.

This type of preparation has regularly been attributed to a French anatomist Claude Beauchene, however, apparently this is not the case….

Pic from here.

A recently published (and very interesting) paper by Spinner et al aims to dispel some of the myths surrounding the technique.  The paper is available through Clinical Anatomy here.  Briefly, it traces the technique from early Da Vinci sketches, through work by  Chaisson and Hildebrand and finally crediting the technique to Edme Francois Chauvot de Beauchene (1780-1830).

Pic from here.

A resurgence in popularity can be credited to shows such as Science Channels Oddities, with their resident Beauchener (another word we may have made up) Ryan Matthew Cohn.  Prepare to be totally mesmerised by his website, and if you simply must have one- he does sometimes have them for sale.

Looks like you might have to fight him for that one though!


SKULL APPRECIATION DAY (week)!! Day 6- Skull pathologies

June 9, 2012

For the penultimate day of our Skull Appreciation Day (week) we are going to have a chat about skulls that are out of the ordinary.  This topic was suggested by Dr. Bones DLC on twitter and it is another suggestion with which we wholeheartedly agree!  We have also been involved in the research of pathological skulls and we can say with confidence that it is the coolest job around!

Obviously we can’t talk about all the things that can go wrong in a skull, so we figured the best way to represent these cool skulls was to find some pics of some interesting pathologies.

Now before we go any further with this guy, we need to say that we couldn’t for the life of us find the original source of this pic- it did the reddit rounds a while ago so is on a few blogs, but if you know of the original owner please let us know!  As the label suggests, it is an example of an osteosarcoma– basically a bone cancer.  As you probably guessed, the affected region is the ‘fluffy’ looking bone around the orbit (eye hole).  It is estimated that 8% of osteosarcomas are located in the skull.

This pic is from Speltz et al, 2004 and depicts just a couple of the many different head shapes that can result from craniosynostosis– the premature fusion of the cranial sutures.  Basically, the this means that the sutures, which are the places where the skull grows, grow over with bone.  This causes the skull to become malformed as it is stretched in an abnormal direction to accommodate the rapidly growing brain.

This pic shows an unfortunate skull with a rather serious case of hydrocephaly.  Hydrocephalus is caused by a build up of cerebrospinal fluid in the skull with the increased volume in the head causing the bones of the skull to become enlarged.

If you have a favourite (probably wrong word for it…) disordered or malformed skull, send us a pic!


SKULL APPRECIATION DAY (week)!! Day 5- The Phantom

June 7, 2012

We are well over halfway now of our skull appreciation day (week), but still have a couple more cool skulls to squeeze in!

Todays suggestion came to us on our facebook page from Heather.  Her suggestion…. the Phantom!

Now you might be thinking “the Phantom is not a skull…”, well no, but he is the ghost who walks- a position that comes with much imagery of death.  That’s where the skulls come in!

1)  The oath of the skull:  Despite popular belief, the Phantom is not a “ghost who walks” as he is not immortal.  It is a position passed from generation to generation.  The Phantom we currently know, is in fact the 21st generation Phantom.  As the banner is passed from generation to generation, they must say the oath of the skull to pledge their allegiance to their new position.  And the oath:

“I swear to devote my life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty, and injustice, in all their forms, and my sons and their sons shall follow me”

2)  Skull mark (skull ring):  The Phantom wears 2 rings- one with the crossbones known as the Good Mark, which is a mark given to his allies.  The other is a skull ring, used to mark evil doers and bad guys after a swift punch.  Made from the metal of the nails that held Jesus to the cross and once owned by Emperor Nero, this ring has a pretty fine pedigree!  Probably one of the most recognisable symbols of the Phantom- many recreations of this ring can be bought by eager fans.

3) Skull cave:  Like all good super heroes/vigilantes/defenders of the innocent the Phantom needs a lair!  For the Phantom, his lair is the Skull cave.  The cave was gifted to the first Phantom by the local tribespeople and noting that it resembled a skull, he got busy carving to make it into the skull cave that you see today.  All the previous Phantoms are buried in the skull cave, so hopefully for the present Phantom it doesn’t stink too much!

There is also a skull belt, skull helicopter…. the list goes on!  We never realised there was so much back story to the Phantom!  Thanks for the suggestion Heather!