Degree of Ossification of a Five-Month-Old Fetus (Degré d'ossification d'un Foetus de cinq mois)

A work made of gelatin silver print with applied india ink or watercolor.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print with applied india ink or watercolor.

Date:

1898

Artist:

Artist unknown
French, 19th century

About this artwork

In late 1895, physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen inadvertently discovered a form of radiation that exposed photographic plates; as electromagnetic waves passed through opaque materials, they left behind shadowy images. He termed them X-rays, and news of the discovery spread rapidly. For the scientific community, X-rays expanded medical possibilities, allowing doctors to see interior anatomy without surgery. For the general public, these pictures spectacularly revealed places normally invisible to the human eye and became objects of enduring fascination. This X-ray appeared on the cover of Les Rayons X, a journal of radiology, on March 5, 1898, just two years after Röntgen's discovery. The accompanying article claimed that X-rays were "interesting and useful for the study of fetal development at all stages of pregnancy," describing in wonderment what can be seen clearly in the image (larger bones and the spine) and what cannot (connective tissue and cartilage).

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Photography

Artist

Unknown

Title

Degree of Ossification of a Five-Month-Old Fetus (Degré d'ossification d'un Foetus de cinq mois)

Origin

France

Date

1898

Medium

Gelatin silver print with applied india ink or watercolor

Inscriptions

No markings recto or verso

Dimensions

31.5 × 23.3 cm (image/paper)

Credit Line

The Mary and Leigh Block Endowment Fund

Reference Number

1997.219

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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