To the anatomists, for the doctors to dissect? 

To the Royal Academy, for the artists to draw? 

They all need a corpse. 

And he is surely dead; publicly, clearly, fully, forever dead. 

Hanged by the state for robbing a pastry cook on the

 King’s highway. 

But a soldier before a criminal. 

Fit, young, well-muscled, free of disease. 

To the Royal Academy then, 

For other young men and their drawings. 

Skinned and plastered, 

Arranged by the academicians into yet another iteration of the Dying Gaul

Now abandoned in an unlit cupboard, encrusted with the discarded gum 

Of generations of art students.

Jeanne Cannizzo is an anthropologist with special interests in art, material culture, and critical museology. She was a faculty member in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh and an occasional guest curator at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Canada. She was a co-artist of Smugglerius Unveiled at Talbot Rice Gallery and a co-artist of NeoNeanderthals, a ‘revisionist’ view of the culture and abilities of these archaic humans, Royal Scottish Academy.