Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: De Humani Corporis Fabrica

  • Handmaidens of anatomy

    Elisabeth BranderSt. Louis, Missouri, United States Some of the most well-known images in the history of anatomy are the woodcut écorché figures that appear in Andreas Vesalius’s De humani corporis fabrica, published in 1543. Rather than lying inert on a dissection table, they stride boldly through a pastoral landscape as if still alive, showing their…

  • A brief history of kidney transplantation

    Laura Carreras-Planella Marcella Franquesa Ricardo Lauzurica Francesc E. Borràs Barcelona, Spain   We may think of renal transplantation as routine therapy today, but this procedure has taken centuries to develop and is marked by important events in the history of science. An ancient description of the kidneys is found in the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus, dated…

  • Bloody beginnings of hematology

    Sherin Jose ChockattuBengaluru, India His pole, with pewter basins hung,Black, rotten teeth in order strung,Rang’d cups that in the window stood,Lin’d with red rags, to look like blood,Did well his threefold trade explain,Who shav’d, drew teeth, and breathd a vein – John Gay (The Goat Without a Beard, 1727) For over three millennia, self-taught physicians…

  • Bibliotheca Sibbaldiana

    Colin McDowallEdinburgh, Scotland On 5 February 1723 a crowd gathered at the house of the late Sir Robert Sibbald, noted Edinburgh physician, for the auction of his personal library. Sibbald was a considerable collector of books and after his death in August 1722 the sale of his surviving library garnered considerable attention. Although printed as…

  • Pig man: pigs in medicine from Galen to transgenic xenotransplantation

    Stanley Gutiontov Chicago, Illinois, United States   The bad rap “And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you.” —Leviticus 11:7 Slaughtering of a pig Pig: a word variably defined as “a young domesticated swine not yet sexually mature” or “a dirty, gluttonous,…

  • Redefining the medical artist

    Meena Malhotra Chicago, Illinois, USA   Medical illustration is a long-standing tradition that dates back to the sixteenth-century anatomist and physician Andreas Vesalius. In his preface to his book, De humani corporis fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body), Vesalius commented on the value of images and dissection in learning anatomy: How much pictures…

  • Anatomical ghosts in The Merchant of Venice

    Mauro Spicci Antonio and the dangers of self-diagnosis In the last few years the steadily growing number of attempts to read Shakespeare’s plays from a medical perspective has been justified by the idea that they are not simply the immortal fruits of a genius, but also documents reflecting the historical, cultural, and social background of…

  • Vesalius: Spirit of excellence and inquiry

    JMS Pearce United Kingdom This brief sketch is offered to commemorate the 500th birthday of Andreas Vesalius and the beginnings of post-Renaissance anatomy. Few men are more deserving of lasting fame than Vesalius. The prime importance of his anatomy is irrefutable. The current decline in anatomy teaching has provoked trenchant criticism.1 But Vesalius was not the…

  • Vesalius in Pisa

    Gianfranco NataleRosalba CiranniPaola LenziPisa, Italy Andreas Vesalius was born in 1514 in Bruxelles and studied in Paris but graduated in Padua. He published De humani corporis fabrica in 1543, and then spent time conducting anatomical dissections in Bologna, Pisa, and Florence before becoming the private physician of Emperor Charles V. The present note aims to…