Frontispiece (copperplate engraving) for Giulio Casserio’s ‘Anatomische Tafeln’, Frankfurt, 1656.

National Library of Medicine: frontispiece (copperplate engraving) for Giulio Casserio’s Anatomische Tafeln, Frankfurt, 1656. Europeana offers a reproduction of the same image licensed under CC BY-NC.

The whole book by Giulio Casserio ―to which this frontispiece belong― can be browsed at Umeå University Library Digital Collection (Java must be enabled in order to browse the book online). The book can also be downloaded in PDF (71.1 MB).

From the exhibition Dream Anatomy (October 9, 2002 to July 31, 2003) hosted by the National Library of Medicine:

This clumsy frontispiece features five notable anatomists posed around a cadaver. In the center of the picture, the image of the Earth, with the continent of “America” visible, signifies that the anatomized body is a “New World,” and dissection a voyage of discovery.

Although the Dream Anatomy is not on display anymore, a gallery of illustrations is still available online. Furthermore, a 190 pages catalog of the exhibition was produced by Michael Sappol: see U.S. Gov. Bookstore, Amazon, Google Books (with preview). Below is an excerpt from the foreword written by Elizabeth Fee (Chief, History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine):

The dual structure of the book reinforces the idea of doubling that runs throughout the exhibition. The anatomical body is a body double―the essay calls it a “mirror” that first anatomists, and later a larger public, peered into. Anatomical illustration and display required collaboration between art and science, and eventually became the terrain on which art and science were defined in opposition to each other. Dream Anatomy invites you to look and think twice about the anatomical body and its relation to self. The appeal of the topic―anatomy, anatomical representation, the anatomical conception of self, whether treated historically, aesthetically, or scientifically―is evidenced by the wave of anatomical exhibitions that currently attract record-setting crowds, the popularity of anatomically-themed art, and the numerous scenes of anatomical dissection which now appear in movies and on TV. The history of anatomy, Dream Anatomy argues, is everybody’s history: we all think of ourselves as anatomical beings.

See more images related to Giulio Casserio at the Images from the History of Medecine archive. All those 21 images are in the public domain.


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