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Skeleton of a boy sitting on the 'D' of 'Dream', from Francesco Bertinatti, Elementi di anatomia fisiologica applicata alle belle arti figurative (Turin, 1837-39).  Artist: Mecco Leone. Lithograph
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Cadavers at Play

The Anatomical Visions of Charles Estienne

Charles Estienne’s 1545 De dissectione partium corporis ("On the dissection of the parts of the human body") would have been the first lavishly illustrated anatomy, had publication not been delayed by a lengthy legal dispute with collaborator Étienne de la Rivière. The woodcuts, while imaginative, lack the rigor and detail of Vesalius’s 1543 De Fabrica—and unlike De Fabrica posed no challenge to the authority of the ancient anatomists. To cut costs, Estienne took some of his illustrations from non-anatomical books, replacing the middle of the woodblock with an insert that depicted the body’s interior.

Naked man draped over a table, with the top of his head sawed off, revealing a cross-section of his brain. Cropped, from Charles Estienne & Étienne de la Rivière, La dissection des parties du corps humain... (Paris, 1546). Woodcut.
A naked woman, with her womb dissected, poses in front of a tower. Cropped, from Charles Estienne & Étienne de la Rivière, De dissectione partium corporis humani... (Paris, 1545). Woodcut.
Skeleton with detached tendons, holding his jawbone, in front of a cloudy sky. Cropped, from Charles Estienne & Étienne de la Rivière, La dissection des parties du corps humain... (Paris, 1546). Woodcut.





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A naked woman, with her womb dissected, cropped, from Charles Estienne & Étienne de la Rivière, De dissectione partium corporis humani... (Paris, 1545). Woodcut.