Pareidolia inside of us

By Phil Plait | August 23, 2009 8:00 am

Vesna Jovanovic’s pareidolia and anatomy illustration

How many of you have read a copy of Gray’s Anatomy? Not the TV show, but the actual classic medical book with gorgeous hand-drawn illustrations of human body parts? I had a copy for years and loved thumbing through it and gaping at the weird glop inside of us.

Artist and chemist Vesna Jovanovic has done Gray one better: she’s created anatomy art based on ink blots. Yes, it’s pareidolianatomy. This is a very cool gallery of images that, well, has to be seen to be appreciated. For the back story, check out the Seed magazine interview with her. Very cool stuff.

Tip o’ the cranial cap to BABloggee Charles who pointed me to the io9 article on Ms. Jovanovic.


Comments (14)

  1. Mike

    Nice, but I can’t say I would want to hang a painting called “Radiating Duodenum” in my house… ūüėČ

  2. Lisa

    I thought the book was spelled with an a — Gray’s Anatomy.

    They are amazing images! Who knew our internals could be so pretty? :)

  3. James

    You know I was just thinking on how to spell pareidolia and then checked out this blog(which I do every morning w/coffee) and what do you know the word popped up! I must be psychic!! Maybe I’ll shell out some of my hard earned cash to go to psychic boot camp!! The JREF will be handling my claim for the million dollars soon. :)

  4. Matthew Ota

    This is so far removed from astronomy. Looking in instead of looking at what is out there.

    Guts are icky

  5. Lisa, you’re right, thanks. I fixed it.

  6. Supernova

    OT, Phil, I am at the “Rogerfest” conference in honor of Roger Chevalier’s 60th birthday, and I thought you might be interested to know that an old, long-haired, grad-school-era picture of you (with Roger and others) somehow surfaced at the roast last night. I will leave you to guess who’s to blame for that… :)

  7. Cecil

    Phil, I am a painter, and I must say, it’s great to see other painters/artists getting exposure on science sites (and vice versa, when I can find it). While I am not a scientist, my work is greatly influenced by science readings I am doing constantly. I think we smart people (to put it simply) should stick together.

  8. cpt Jameson Lave de Reorte

    Off topic, but this breath taking beautiful. HOME. Watch in HD full screen.

  9. MadScientist

    Yup, got my “Gray’s Anatomy”; maybe that’s why I was looking at that artwork thinking “this doesn’t look anything like any human heart – or any other animal’s heart for that matter.”

    I always marvel at how Mr. Gray comes back from the dead every now and then to produce a newer edition.

  10. Na'Themba Clémence

    The drawings are gorgeous. The subject matter. . .Matthew is right: guts are icky.

  11. I think something got lost in the transition from inkblots to innards. Perhaps the idea would have worked better if the artist had used just charcoal and an eraser.

  12. Those are some nice paintings!

    Too bad I strongly disagree with her artist’s statement. Chemistry (and science in general) is always revealing new questions! Just last year I was lucky enough to hear both Roald Hoffmann (nobel laureate) and Richard F.W. Bader debate the nature of chemical bonds. You’d think such a thing would be settled and clearly defined, but since atoms are always vibrating and electron orbitals are modeled as mathematical “clouds” of probability, the question “what is a bond?” is as hard as ever!

    If she wants sublime, powerful concepts or “inquisition (sic) and discovery” in chemistry, she just needs to look a little deeper. But at least she’s finding good inspiration in anatomy.

  13. GregB

    We had a “Big Red Book of Health” at our house. I don’t remember it’s real name but I do remember being a little kid and looking at the pictures of the moose. No really, there was a moose picture. It had a nose and 2 antlers type things. My favorite book at the time was Dr. Seuss’s “Thidwick the big hearted moose” and I swear, it looked like a moose.

    Turns out, it was really the uterus, fallopian tubes and overies.

    Silly me.

  14. F

    I had a Gray’s Anatomy coloring book…


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