Thinking 3D is an international initiative which will organise and promote exhibitions in several major institutions.

Under the skin: Anatomy, art and identity

dates: 10 October 2019-3 April 2020

location: Royal College of Physicians, London

In this exhibition, contemporary artworks in a range of media from glass to ceramic, performance to sculpture are displayed alongside historical books and drawings to offer personal and emotional reflections on medical representations of the human body. Providing a current perspective on the medical objects, and contemplating our complex relationship to our bodies today, are contemporary artists Andrew Carnie, Amanda Couch, Adelaide Damoah, Tamsin van Essen, Rebecca D Harris, Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley, Sofie Layton, Lucy Lyons, Liz Orton, Bee Flowers, Angela Palmer, and Ruth Uglow.



Thinking 3D from Leonardo to the present

dates: 21 March 2019-9 February 2020

location: Bodleian’s Treasury, Weston Library, Broad Street, Oxford

The heart of Thinking 3D in Oxford will be the main exhibition at the Bodleian’s Treasury which will tell the over-arching story of the development of three-dimensional communication using the Bodleian’s finest books and manuscripts. This exhibition will run for the entire season of Thinking 3D and will act as a hub for many of the other partner exhibitions across Oxford.

Related events: Leonardo to Present: The Story of the Heart; Thinking 3D: Byrne-Bussey Marconi talk at the Bodleian Libraries.


Thinking 3D: Visualizing the Brain from the Renaissance to the Present

dates: 12 September-11 October 2019

Location: Annette and Irwin Eskind Family Biomedical Library, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA

Opening in early fall of 2019, the Vanderbilt Thinking 3D exhibition focuses on the origins of modern neuroscience, exploring human perception through studies and imagery of the brain. From the 16th-century works of anatomist Andreas Vesalius to stereograms to the latest 3D scanning techniques, the exhibition examines the physical and virtual ways that scientists have sought to depict and explain brain anatomy and function. Three-dimensional perception itself is a topic of this exhibition as well.

Related event: An 18th century Renaissance: the Leonardo drawings that no one saw.


Thinking 3D: The Botanist’s Library

dates: 1 June-31 August 2019

Location: Magdalen College Library, Oxford

Botanical sciences have always relied on field observations and descriptions, and the ability to faithfully and scientifically reproduce specimens alongside their descriptions and taxonomies follows the overall narrative of Thinking 3D. To tie in, then, with the Thinking 3D exhibition at Oxford Botanic Garden, The Botanist’s Library will investigate how a prolific working botanist at the end of the 17th century collected botanical and used botanical works. The collection of botanist and physician John Goodyer (c.1592-1664) will be the focus of this exhibition at Magdalen College Library, a unique collection which gathers together most of the botanical works published from the 15th century until his death; many of the editions in Goodyer’s library record when, where and for how much he purchased his books, and a great number of his books feature his marginal commentary, translations, interactions, and colourings.

Related event: Picturing the passion flower. Art, science and religion in the early modern period.


Thinking 3D: Flower to Frame

dates: 1 June-31 August 2019

Location: The Herbarium Room, Oxford Botanic Garden

Flower to Frame explores the evolution and techniques of botanical illustration through the centuries. Learn how botanical illustrations were sketched and created, and explore the use of three-dimensional sectional teaching models from the early 20th century, and 21st century 3D models of plants that cannot be cultivated in gardens. Flower to Frame shows visitors both ancient and modern techniques, and exhibits new artwork by botanist Chris Thorogood (Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum) and botanical illustrator Rosemary Wise (Department of Plant Sciences).


Our Science and Art: Visualising the Human Body

dates: September 2018-July 2019

location: Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow

This exhibition looks at how advances in technology and in our knowledge of human anatomy have changed the ways we see (and see inside) the human body. Focusing in turn on medical illustration, microscopy, endoscopy, imaging techniques such as X-ray photography and ultrasonography, and modern digital visualisation, we can see how 5 centuries of scientific and artistic progress have enabled us to better picture the complex 3D body on the 2D page and screen.

Related event: Thinking 3D: On the Fabric of the Human Body.


Shadow and Light: Creating the Illusion of Space in Renaissance Drawing

dates: 27 March-14 July 2019

location: Christ Church Picture Gallery, Oxford


Dimensions: The Mathematics of Symmetry and Space

dates: 16 March-9 June 2019

location: Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Gallery 8

Dimensions: The Mathematics of Symmetry and Space marks the first ever collaboration between Oxford’s Mathematical Institute and the Ashmolean.

Taking the visitor on a journey from the single point of zero dimensions to the infinite dimensions of theoretical mathematics, the exhibition deploys textiles, dazzling Islamic ceramics, prehistoric carvings, woodcuts by Albrecht Dürer and virtual reality technology to explore what it means to experience and represent the patterns and spaces of our complex three-dimensional world.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of talks by curators from the Ashmolean and their collaborators from the Mathematical Institute.


Thinking 3D: The Mathematics of Space

dates: 20 February-26 April 2019 (extended 10 May 2019)

location: Library of Christ Church, Oxford

Geometry was at the core for understanding a wide range of scientific issues in the early modern period. The library and scientific tools of polymath Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery, will be the focus of an exhibition in the Library of Christ Church displaying the great scientific wealth bequeathed to the institution in 1731.

Related event: Of New Celestial Wonders: How the telescope has transformed human understanding, 1609-2019.


Under the skin: Illustrating the human body

dates: 1 February-15 March 2019

location: Royal College of Physicians, London

We are fascinated by the contents of our complex and fragile bodies. Identifying and understanding what lies under our skin has been central to medical research and training for hundreds of years.


Related event: Artists under the skin: exhibition launch and lecture.


An Eye for 3D. Teaching Anatomy at St Andrews

dates: 1-19 October 2018

location: School of Art History, University of St Andrews

The exhibition, curated by Laura Moretti, showcases three-dimensional models of the human eye preserved in the University of St Andrews Museums and Collections. These have been used in this institution to teach the anatomy of the eye since the late nineteenth-early twentieth century. The display is completed by the reproductions of Arthur Thomson’s stereoscopic images of the human eye (1912).

Related events: An Eye for 3D; Teaching Anatomy in 3D with Special Collections.


Natural Bodies, Ideal Shapes: The Hidden Geometry of Nature

dates: June-August 2018

location: School of Art History, University of St Andrews

The exhibition, co-curated by Laura Moretti and Anna Venturini, presents a blend of human artefacts and natural elements that illustrate how basic principles of sciences such as Geometry and Mathematics are also to be found in Nature. All the exhibited objects belong to the collections of the University of St Andrews.


Travelling Images: Venetian Illustrated Books at the University of Edinburgh

dates: April-June 2018

location: Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh

The exhibition presented a group of illustrated books printed in Venice in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and currently preserved at the Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh. Co-curated by Linda Borean (Università degli Studi di Udine) and Laura Moretti (University of St Andrews), with Elizabeth Quarmby Lawrence (Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh), funded by The Royal Society of Edinburgh, supported by the School of Art History, University of St Andrews, and Thinking 3D.

Related event: From the Lagoon to the Library. Venetian Illustrated Books at the University of Edinburgh.