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Frame by Frame

From an eviscerated body, spiritualism emerges

WORCESTER ­­— This dark, disturbing painting is not, on reflection, dark — it’s very brightly colored — and it’s only disturbing if you want it to be. It’s by Hyman Bloom (1913-2009), one of the most compelling artists to have emerged from Boston in the 20th century, and it hangs in the Worcester Art Museum.

Painted in 1952, it shows a human body with its viscera exposed. We see a knee, an arm, a face, and a rib cage (which also resembles the skeleton of a ship’s hull — hence, one assumes, the title). And then, too, we notice the hands of whoever is performing this grisly operation — an autopsy, most likely. One of them grips a knife, its edge limned by blood.

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