On the Fabric of the Human Body is one of the most influential works in the history of Western medicine.
It was conceived and written by 28-year-old Andreas Vesalius (c.1514-1564), a professor at the University of Padua. Vesalius was both a gifted dissector and a learned scholar, who applied to anatomy the critical methods developed by humanist scholars.
He subjected the ancient authorities on anatomy to a rigorous test: a comparison with his own observations of the dissected human body. He collected and presented his findings in De Humani Corporis Fabrica and, in doing so, created the modern science of anatomy.
The book was published in Basle in 1543, with more than 600 pages of text and beautifully detailed engravings by artists from the workshop of Titian.
On the introduction to De Fabrica, shown here, is the only known first-hand portrait of Vesalius, shown with a partly dissected corpse. The success of the publication landed Vesalius an appointment as physician to the Holy Roman Emperor, and he became a wealthy man. In 1564 Vesalius died, at the age of 49, while returning from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Read more about Andreas Vesalius' De Humani Corporis Fabrica on Turning the Pages™.
- Article by:
Did you know the Diamond Sutra, the world's earliest dated printed book, is in the British Library? Discover this and other landmarks of printing in the Library's collections.
- Article by:
Explore the Library’s strong scientific holdings. These range from medieval times to the burgeoning developments in physics, chemistry and biology of the 18th and early 19th centuries. Our collections go right up to modern times and also include social science.