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VESALIUS, Andreas.

De humani corporis fabrica libri septem.

Basel, Johannes Oporinus, June 1543 Stock Code: 126301

The birth of modern anatomy

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First edition of Vesalius's magnum opus, the founding text of modern anatomy, which revolutionized the science and teaching of medicine and practice of surgery. "This is the work that, by breaking the stranglehold in which the writings of Galen had gripped anatomical research for the previous twelve centuries, was instrumental in turning researchers away from his pages and sending them back to the prime source: the human body itself" (Richardson, p. ix). Over 200 pioneering anatomical illustrations were incorporated into the text: the highly technical woodcuts, groundbreaking in their realism, were all carefully executed under Vesalius's supervision in Venice. In an unprecedented coalescence of scientific exposition, art, and typography, the De Fabrica became "one of the most beautiful scientific books ever printed" (Grolier). "Galen was not merely improved upon: he was superseded; and the history of anatomy is divided into two periods, pre-Vesalian and post-Vesalian" (PMM).

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Folio (433 x 295 mm). Early 19th-century sprinkled half sheep, marbled boards, two green morocco labels to spine lettered gilt, smooth spine divided into compartments by double gilt dotted lines and chain links. Housed in a custom slipcase.


Woodcut pictorial title page (laid down on thin paper), full-page portrait of Vesalius, probably after Jan Stephan Calkar, 7 large, 186 mid-sized, and 22 small woodcut initials, more than 200 woodcut illustrations, including 3 full-page skeletons, 14 full


Faint ownership signature of "Ippolito Guarisci" to title page. A little worming to boards and joints, mainly superficial, joints a little tender, tips slightly worn, title page with small holes to edges, sometime repaired with concomitant browning, a few small marginal tears with old neat repairs, folding plates with small reinforcement to verso, old ink stains at outer edge of pp. 335-80, p. 356 mounted on stub, occasional finger-mark, some foxing and marginal dampstaining throughout, more evident at final few leaves, overall presenting well.


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