Venus de Medici circa early 18th century by Francesco Calenzuoli (1796-1821).
In my first two years of medical training, I was fortunate enough to have didactic anatomical teachings supplemented with laboratory dissections of cadavers.
In the history of medical training, wax models such as the one above were used for teaching anatomy to medical students. Model makers could be consulted to pick out and emphasize body features and thus make the structures and functions easier to understand. In times when few bodies were available for dissection, detailed models would be highly sought after as a substitute.
Today, prosections - carefully dissected body parts - can be infused with paraffin to make them more hardy compared to the formaldehyde-only treated bodies. In many respects, these waxy organs serve the same purpose as its earlier predecessors: allowing generations of medical students an opportunity to learn and study.
(Source: io9.com, via besos-en-el-cuello)