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Title page in Italian in red and black ink and large woodcut printer’s device of Carlo Ruini’s Anatomia del cauallo, infermità, et suoi rimedii (Venice: F. Prati, 1618).  NLM Call number: WZ 250 R934d 1618.

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Carlo Ruini.
Anatomia del Cavallo. (Venice: F. Prati, 1618).

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Carlo Ruini was born into a wealthy family in Bologna, Italy, in 1530. He was privately educated in the style of most upper class children, but did not receive special training as a physician or attend the famous university in the city. It is unknown if he received special training in art. He appears to have been an avid collector of horses and a rider. His noted work, Anatomia del Cavallo, appeared two months after his death in 1598 and was a milestone in veterinary publishing, not least for its amazingly well drafted woodcut images of equine anatomy which were clearly very heavily influenced by human anatomical works published in the decades before. The work was published over and over again, and its images and text were often plagiarized, including the many errors to be found in the first edition.

The artist of the work is unknown, but unfounded rumors circulated that the images were drafted by "an artist from the workshop of Titian," the same undocumented attribution as Andreas Vesalius' De Fabrica (Basel, 1543). This is an indication of the comparison of the two works in the minds of the public in terms of style, fluidity, detail, and importance. The National Library of Medicine does not own a copy of the 1598 first edition, and NLM's copy of the 1599 edition does not have images as well-printed as those of the 1618 edition scanned here.

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