[CONSIDERATIONS ON DE HUMANI CORPORIS FABRICA BY ANDRIES VAN WESELE (1514-1564) AND JAN STEPHAN VAN CALCAR (1499?- 1545): THE RULE AND FEELING]


Published: 5 September 2019
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[During the 15th and 16th century, significant innovations developed in medical studies as a result of an analytical revision of classical medicine as reworked by Galenus. Many anatomists began performing dissections on human corpses, thus verifying and correcting the theories of Galenus, who had only performed animal dissection. Remarkable results were achieved by Andries van Wesele (Andreae Vesalii); thanks to his excellent classical education and his knowledge of Greek and Latin, he became interested in anatomy and carried out a large number of dissections on corpses which enabled him to acquire a thorough knowledge of human anatomy. Furthermore, Andreae Vesalii actively sought the collaboration of artists such as Jan Stephan van Calcar to illustrate his works. The De Humani Corporis Fabrica is probably the best result of such collaborations. Although we do not know how many tabulae were actually created by Calcar (only seven have been proven to be his), his work has been a great influence on the book. Not only do the tabulae provide an extremely detailed anatomic description of the human body, they are also aesthetically impeccable. The illustrations of the musculoskeletal system and the thorax are particularly impressive: while the first group of tabulae is more innovative and original, the illustrations of the thorax are still inspired by classical standards of beauty. The importance given to aesthetics also stands out in the illustrations of skeletal segments and entrails and in typographic details such as the paragraph letters at the beginning of each section. To print his book, Vesalii chose Johannes Herbster (known as Oporinus), whose medical knowledge and innovative vision were key factors to a high-quality edition. The scientific accuracy, the aesthetic value and the competence of its printer have all contributed to make the De Humani Corporis Fabrica an absolute masterpiece].


Passavanti, G. (2019). [CONSIDERATIONS ON DE HUMANI CORPORIS FABRICA BY ANDRIES VAN WESELE (1514-1564) AND JAN STEPHAN VAN CALCAR (1499?- 1545): THE RULE AND FEELING]. Journal of the Siena Academy of Sciences, 10(1-IT). https://doi.org/10.4081/jsas.2018.8534

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