History of Medicine
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.
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