FIRST EDITION OF ANDREAS VESALIUS' "EPOCHAL PUBLICATION, ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SCIENTIFIC BOOKS EVER PRINTED": DE HUMANI CORPORIS FABRICA LIBRI SEPTUM; ON THE FABRIC OF THE HUMAN BODY
De humani corporis fabrica libri septem.
Item Number: 30020
Basel: Ex Officina Joannis Oporini, 1543.
First edition”epochal publication, one of the most beautiful scientific books ever printed”(Grolier/Horblit). Folio, bound in full 18th century calf, woodcut title page with Vesalius performing a dissection, woodcut portrait of the author, over 200 woodcut anatomical illustrations, including 21 full page and 2 folding-sheet figural woodcuts of the skeletal, muscular, vascular and nervous systems. In very good condition with some light dampstaining to several pages. Garrison-Morton 375; Grolier/Horblit 98; Norman 2137, PMM 71; Adams V-603; Choulant-Frank 178; Durling 4577; Wellcome 6560. Rare.
Vesalius studied medicine at the University of Paris and received his doctorate in medicine from the University of Padua in 1537. There he lectured on surgery and anatomy, beginning his practice of performing dissections himself while conducting his lectures instead of assigning a barber-surgeon that function. Shortly thereafter, a judge of the Paduan criminal court made available to Vesalius the bodies of executed criminals, which provided him with sufficient specimens to produce, at the age of twenty-nine, his monumental anatomical study. The importance of the Fabrica in the history of medicine can scarcely be exaggerated. His remarkably accurate text is coupled with woodcut anatomical illustrations of artistic and technical brilliance in a comprehensive study of bones, muscles, blood vessels, nerves, abdominal viscera, thoracic organs and the brain. "Galen was not merely improved upon: he was superseded; and the history of anatomy is divided into two periods, pre-Vesalian and post-Vesalian" (PMM).