Thursday, September 8, 2016

anatomy & physiology! (Andrea Vesalius: De Humani corporis fabrica, 1543)

the aesthetic of Vesalius' De Humani Corporis* casts renaissance Humanism in a sort of macabre light. to display his knowledge of human anatomy, Vesalius posed his skeletons, partially flayed bodies and flayed bodies in graceful versions of living poses.

the treatise is based on his Paduan lectures, during which he deviated from common practice by dissecting a corpse to illustrate what he was discussing. here we see a careful examination of the organs and the complete structure of the human body.

the honor of these skillful & detailed studies goes to Jan van Calcar. De Humani Corporis would not have been possible without the many advances made during the Renaissance, including both the artistic and technical development of printing.
*Fabrica rectified some of Galen's worst errors, including the notion that the great blood vessels originated from the liver. Even with his improvements, however, Vesalius clung to some of Galen's errors, such as the idea that there was a different type of blood flowing through veins than arteries. It was not until William Harvey's work on the circulation of the blood that this misconception of Galen would be rectified in Europe.