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Medical History Illustrations
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Medical History Illustrations

  • VC185
  • Collection

This collection consists of 16 reproductions of paintings, engravings, and woodcuts related to medical history, including prints from Andreas Vesalius's "De humani corporis fabrica." The majority of the facsimiles were produced in 1976 by Yale University for a portfolio titled, "Medical History in Pictures Series One: 15th and 16th Century Woodcuts of the Human Body."

Magnus Hundt, "Antopologium," Cap. XXXI.

Caption accompanying the print reads: "A crude woodcut in this rare volume portrays the special senses and nerves of vision (O), hearing (P), smell (Q), and taste (R), the structures from hair (A) to pia mater (G) that cover the brain, the ventricles (S, T, U, X) and other anatomical details. Hundt (1449-1519) was a professor in Leipzig."

Giacomo Berengario da Carpi, "Isagogae breves," folio 32, verso.

Caption accompanying the print reads: "The aorta was believed to carry not blood but vital spirit throughout the body. The three cusps of the aortic valve were called ostiola. The recurrent laryngeal nerve, nervus revursus, on each side was thought to close the epiglottus by pulling downward. Perhaps this is why the nerve is here represented as cord-like."

Albertus Magnus, "Philosophia naturalis," Cap. XIII.

Caption accompanying the print reads: "The author, who lived in the thirteenth century, has been discussing the soul. The circles represent the lateral, third, and fourth ventricles, or cavities, of the brain. To them medieval scholars assigned the attributes of common sense (I), imagination (II), and memory (III)."

Martyrologium.

Caption accompanying the print reads: "A martyrology gave information about the saints for each day of the year. As the dates changed, so did the influences of the stars. Each astral body affected a particular part of the human body, as illustrated here. Thus a patient's horoscope was believed to explain his disease. This is the earliest printed picture of a 'zodiacal' and 'blood lettng' man; used with an accompanying chart, it showed the appropriate times and sites for venesection."

Johannes de Ketham, "Fasciculus medicinae."

Caption accompanying the print reads: "The first woodcuts illustrating human anatomy appeared in the 1491 and later editions of this book. As the professor sits in an elevated chair, discoursing from a book but not from the cadaver, an ostensor at the far right directs a menial bending to his work. Some of the robed bystanders seem bored."

Andreas Vesalius, "De humani corporis fabrica," title page.

Caption accompanying the print reads: "In this splendid woodcut the great Belgian anatomist lectures as he dissects. The size and rapt attention of his audience are not exaggerated. Vesalius reformed the study of human anatomy by replacing dogmatic belief in the inaccurate teachings of the past with a magnificent account of his own careful observations."

Andreas Vesalius, "De humani corporis fabrica," Plate 24.

Caption accompanying the print reads: "This view shows the muscles as they appear after removal of skin and fascia. Such a figure, called an ecorche, was of interest to sculptors and artists as well as to medical students and doctors. An accompanying legend named the muscles identified by letters."

Andreas Vesalius, "De humani corporis fabrica," Plate 25.

Caption accompanying the print reads: "Like the other 'muscle men,' this figure seems alive, emphasizing the interrelation of the structure and function. When these and successive pictures are placed side by side in order, the background is seen to be continuous. It is an actual region near Padua."