About the Author
Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564) was probably the most famous anatomist of the late renaissance. An uncommon practice of his time, he relied on the experiences of his own dissections and provided a description of the human body with previously unprecedented level of detail. He was born in Brussels on the last day of 1514 or on the first day of 1515. He came from a family of physicians, which must be the reason for his devotion to surgery and anatomy. At age 15 he left Brussels to study in Louvain, later studied medicine at Montpellier and Paris before returning to Louvain again, but this time not as a student but to teach anatomy. Later he lectured at the prestigious university of Padua, and was a guest lecturer at the University of Bologna. He was only 28 years old when he published his great works, the De Humani Corporis Fabrica libri septum and Epitome, latter being the summarized version of the original, a cheaper and shorter version made specifically for his students to use. The collection of books are based on his Paduan lectures, during which he deviated from common practice by dissecting a corpse to illustrate what he was discussing. Dissections previously had been performed by a barber surgeon under the direction of a doctor of medicine, who was expected not to perform manual labour. Vesalius’ “hands-on” magnum opus presents a careful examination of the organs and the complete structure of the human body. This would not have been possible without the many advances that had been made during the Renaissance, including both artistic developments in literal visual representation and the technical development of printing refined woodcut engravings. Because of these developments and his careful, immediate involvement, he was able to produce illustrations superior to any that had been produced up to then. He commissioned the former Tizian apprentice Jan van Kalkar to create the artistic and scientific illustrations of the book. After the book was published Vesalius sent a beautiful copy bound in imperial purple silk, printed on parchment to the Emperor, Charles V. When the Emperor received it, he called Vesalius to his court, and was asked to work as an Imperial surgeon. Because of this offer, Vesalius turned Cosimo de Medici down, who offered him a place as a professor at the university of Padua. Over the next eleven years Vesalius traveled with the court, treating injuries from battle or tournaments, performing postmortems, administering medications, and writing private letters addressing specific medical questions. After the abdication of Emperor Charles V he continued at court in great favor with his son Philip II, who rewarded him with a pension for life by making him a count palatine. In 1555 he published a revised edition of De humani corporis fabrica. In 1564 Vesalius went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. When he arrived to Jerusalem he received a message from the Venetian senate requesting him again to accept the Paduan professorship, which had become vacant by the death of his friend and pupil Fallopius. After struggling for many days with the adverse winds and he was wrecked on the island of Zakynthos. He was buried somewhere in the island of Korfu in 1564.
About the facsimile
The book was printed digitally, the illustrations are black and white. The sides of the bookblock are painted darker than the inside paper color. The cover is made from wood and it is bound in leather, the pages are sewed manually on ribs. The book closes with four metal clasps, on the cover is an embossed emblem visible, with the title of the book. We placed a leather label with guilded letters and guilded decoration on the spine. Opening and closing the book one can admire the beautiful mottled end paper. The colour of the leather can be slightly different from the photo.