Feb. 18 – May 17, 2014
Hammer Health Sciences Building, Lower Level 2
The Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit, Andreas Vesalius: The Founder of Modern Anatomy, 1514-2014. Timed to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Vesalius’s birth later this year, the exhibit draws upon the Health Sciences Library’s strong holdings in the history of anatomy and especially in works of Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564).
In 1543 at the age of 28, Vesalius published De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem [On the Structure of the Human Body in Seven Books], his exhaustive survey of the anatomy of the human body. Vesalius’s assertion in the Fabrica that knowledge of the body could be gained only through the direct experience of dissection helped to overthrow an orthodoxy that dated back to the animal dissections of 2nd century Roman anatomist Galen. While his elders were outraged by his attack on the authority of the ancient authors, Vesalius’s work sparked a renaissance in anatomical investigation that, in time, gave us an accurate account of the human body.
Visitors will be able to see two copies of Vesalius’ 1543 Fabrica; two copies of the enlarged 1555 second edition of the work; a copy of both the Latin and German version of the Epitome, the greatly abridged version of the Fabrica intended for student use; and one of the first anatomy books in English, the Compendiosa totius anatomie delineation (1553) by Thomas Geminus, which plagiarized Vesalius’ illustrations. Modern editions of Vesalius such as the Icones Anatomicae (1934), a joint publication of the New York Academy of Medicine and the University of Munich; and the new English translation of the first and second editions of the Fabrica published last year by Karger are also on display.
In addition the exhibit includes works of pre-Vesalian anatomy, such as a 1494 printing of Mondino di Luzzi’s Anothomia, the first anatomy text based on dissections of the human body; and Jacopo Berengario di Carpi’s 1521 Commentaria, the first anatomical text to contain illustrations derived from human dissections. Works that influenced Vesalius, including the first printing of Galen in the original Greek (1525) and the Anatomicarum institutionum (1541) of Johann Guenter of Andernach, his teacher at Padua, can also be seen.
The exhibit is located on Lower Level 2 of the Hammer Building in the Teaching and Learning Center, with two additional cases on Lower Level 1 at the entrance to the Quiet Study Room. It is open to everyone holding valid Columbia University or New York-Presbyterian Hospital identification. Those without authorized access who wish to see the exhibition should contact the email address below to make arrangements to view it.
The exhibit was curated by Stephen E. Novak, Head, Archives & Special Collections at the Health Sciences Library. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org