Herbert List was fascinated by the ”artificial humans“—life-size figures moulded in wax—on display at the Panoptikum in Vienna’s Prater. In 1944, he photographed these waxworks, depicting them as “corpses set in position and daubed with make-up—frozen in poses of the utmost intensity, they are inhabitants of a Sleeping Beauty castle.” List took a string of fairytale scenes, historical tableaux, and medical subjects and combined them with a trenchant text to create an illustrated book that is now being published for the first time, more than seventy-five years later, in a bibliophile edition based on List’s original draft. An accompanying volume of commentary places the work in the context of his artistic oeuvre and the history of Präuscher’s Panoptikum in Vienna, where popular scientific interest was mixed in the nineteenth century with a sensationalist fascination for erotica and exotica. Herbert List (1903 – 1975) emigrated from Germany in 1936 as an artist influenced by surrealism and the New Objectivity. He then took pictures in southern Europe and lived in Athens until the German invasion. After the war, he became increasingly interested in portraiture, reportage, and street photography and worked for the Magnum agency.

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