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Portraits of Deformity from the Museum Vrolik

James G. Mundie

A while back, I did a feature on the Museum Vrolik, a collection of medical specimens compiled by the Vrolik family beginning in the late 18th century in Amsterdam. Gerardus Vrolik began collecting biological specimens in 1795, and the collection was continued by his son Willem, who specialized in teratology, or the study of congenital abnormalities. The museum is full of fascinating and macabre bottled and jarred human anatomy, from a vast collection of fetuses to various dissected limbs and faces. When I was researching for that post, I came across the photography of James G. Mundie, who captured the beautiful weirdness of Museum Vrolik’s collection in a way that no one else has. His photos introduce you to the subject, take you into their preserved habitat, show them as creatures in their own world rather than dead things. More than anything, they make me wonder about the life of the people inside these bottles. They were most likely tragic, considering the time they lived in – or not lived, as in the case of the fetal specimens – but there’s a certain justice in their longevity and influence over the past 300 years. Check out James G. Mundie’s gorgeous photos of the museum specimens below, and make sure you explore his website for more cool stuff…

All photos © James G. Mundie

Written By

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.

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