Vesalius: 500 Years of Innovation: 1543

This LibGuide documents an exhibition that ran at the Marriott Library from July 11, 2014 to October 3rd 2014

De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem

Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564)
Basileae: ex officinal Ioannis Oporini: 1543
First edition
Andreas Vesalius’ illustrated book on anatomy marked the beginnings of modern observational medicine. The illustrations are important not only for their precise anatomical detail, but as fine examples of the naturalism of Italian Renaissance art, based on the newly discovered principle of linear perspective. A number of artists created the drawings for the woodcuts which illustrate and relate precisely to the text. The sequence of illustration from skeleton to various muscle layers and nerves succeeded in clarifying the study of the human body to a degree never before achieved. The book was also a feat of typographic genius. Typefaces were introduced in the heading of Book I, including a cursive type – used for the legends of the illustrations and to a lesser extent for the marginal notes. The marginal notes are placed in the outside margins and the inside margins; the notes in the outer margins refer to the contents of the text, and those in the inner margins are cross-references to the illustrations. Ornamented capital letters introducing two hundred and eight chapters depict the art of dissection, surgery, and obstetrics. Fourteen muscle figures form a series of illustrations linked by a continuous background, an accurate panorama of an area west of Padua. This copy lacks 34 leaves, including the title-page, the frontispiece, one folding plate, and the colophon. The missing leaves have been replaced with facsimile plates. On loan from the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, The University of Utah.
Marriott Library Eccles Library Quinney Law Library