Transforming Anatomy

Other literature type OPEN
Hall, Anndee (2017)
  • Publisher: DigitalCommons@USU

Abstract: Transforming Anatomy Studying historic books allows people to witness the transformation of the world right before their very eyes. The Bruxellensis Icones Anatomicae[1] by Andreas Vesalius is a vital piece of evidence in the movement from a more rudimentary understanding of the human body into the more complex and accurate development of modern anatomy. Vesalius’ research worked to both refute and confirm findings of his predecessor, the great historical Greek philosopher, Galen of Pergamon (129-216 AD). Before Vesalius documented his work, Galen was considered the main source of expertise on the subject of anatomy. Galen's authority stood firm throughout the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, and it was only with the publication of Vesalius' anatomical textbooks in the sixteenth century that a new and more empirical understanding of human anatomy became standard in western medicine. Such was Vesalius' importance to this relatively new field of scientific investigation that it was not until the 1850s that it was supplanted in medical schools by Henry Gray and Henry Vandyke Carter in the famed Gray’s Anatomy[2]. A comparison of the anatomical imagery and understanding represented by Galen, Vesalius, and Gray and Carter reveals the transformation of medicine, particularly anatomy, from antiquity to modernity. This essay aims to compare and contrast these three important anatomies and discuss how the creation of restrikes, facsimiles, and more widely accessible texts allows people today to physically witness this transformation of society’s views over time. [1] Vesalius, Andreas, Jan Stephan van Calcar, and Frieda Thiersch. 1934. Andreae Vesalii Bruxellensis Icones Anatomicae. [2] Drake, Richard L., Wayne Vogl, Adam W. M. Mitchell, and Henry Gray. 2005. Gray's anatomy for students. Philadelphia: Elsevier/Churchill Livingstone.
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