Ryan Matthew: Exploded Skulls

Years ago I came across a mesmerizing photo of a disarticulated human skull, cleaned and mounted on display with jointed movable parts. A little something like this:

All I could find was that French anatomist Claude Beauchene, inspired by the work of Leonardo Da Vinci, developed this presentation method in the mid 1800’s. There was precious little information about the process, and very few examples.

Ryan Matthew has resurrected this technique and fine tuned its execution with multiple species. Beauchene would be proud.

Here we have an “exploded” human skull:

Believe it or not, there is no bone cutting involved in this process. The skull is fully disarticulated, using a method of internal expansion. The adjustable metal fixtures are handmade as well.

A baboon version:

And a cat…

Having seen these skulls up close, I must say that the detail and construction are stunning. The lack of cutting ensures that each bone fragment maintains its natural shape and integrity. These models would be fantastic educational resources.

I wonder if exploded skulls will take off as a way to memorialize dearly departed pets. At the very least, I think they will make their way into the personal collections of oddity connoisseurs worldwide.

If you want to commission one, look no further than Ryan himself.


5 Responses to “Ryan Matthew: Exploded Skulls”

  1. […] “exploded” skull preparations (which are, to coin a phrase, simply mind-blowing – click here for a neato post on the […]

  2. Anonymous Says:


  3. […] “exploded” skull preparations (which are, to coin a phrase, simply mind-blowing – click here for a neato post on the […]

  4. Hello: We would like permission to use the image of the Claude Beauchene statue used in this blog spot. Please email me for the details of this request. Thank you.

  5. song yejin Says:

    Those are amazing! What talent it must take!

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