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Von des Menschen Cörpers Anatomey, ein kurtzer, aber vast nützer Außzug. [De humani corporis fabrica librorum epitome].
Basel, Johannes Oporinus, 9. VIII. 1543. - Royal folio (354 x 470 mm). 19 leaves (title, A-P, P', two unsigned; J reversed and bound before M; L reversed). Gothic type, magnificent woodcut title-page depicting Vesalius performing a human dissection, large woodcut portrait of the author, 7 very large figural woodcuts of the skeletal, muscular, vascular and nervous systems, 2 unsigned sheets (folded) of large figural woodcuts with smaller woodcut anatomical details intended to be cut out and superimposed on the larger figures, 2 very large figural woodcuts of Adam and Eve. Half vellum (c. 1880) by E. Schroth, Basel, for the Basel gynaecologist J. J. Bischoff, with flat spine and giltstamped cover fillets. First German edition of this "triumph of condensation" (Lind), published by Vesalius in the same year as his groundbreaking 'Fabrica', but much rarer than that and with the famous woodcuts in a considerably larger format. "'De humani corporis fabrica' may be the only masterwork in the history of medicine and science that was published simultaneously with a synopsis prepared by the author" (H. F. Norman, 71). Considered "a book in its own right, independent in treatment, point of view and purpose" (Lind), the epitome was composed of a minimum of text and with great emphasis upon pictorial representation: "Published in a larger format than the 'Fabrica', in the form of separate sheets to be used for wall charts, and not necessarily bound, the 'Epitome' is considerably rarer than the 'Fabrica' today. Many copies of the 'Epitome' are incomplete and the last two, unsigned sheets [.] are especially rare" (H. F. Norman, 72). "However, unlike the 'Fabrica', which begins with the skeletal system and works outward, the Epitome's approach to anatomy is topographical: that is, the muscles are first discussed, followed by a combined study of the vessels, nervous system, and viscera. The various parts of the anatomy are illustrated in nine woodcuts [.] The skeletal, muscular, and one of the circulatory plates are similar, but not identical, to the plates found in the 'Fabrica' [.] In addition to these nine anatomical plates, the 'Epitome' includes two woodcuts of a nude male and a nude female figure, accompanied by long descriptions of the surface region of the body; nothing like them appears in the 'Fabrica'. The Epitome's title-page woodcut and portrait of Vesalius are from the same blocks used in the 'Fabrica'" (H. F. Norman, 71f.). "Vesalius suggested that the large sheets of the 'Epitome' may be mounted on the walls of dissection rooms as a guide to dissection. As a result, relatively few sets of the sheets were bound up as books, and only a small portion of the original printing survives [.] By August 9, 1543, Vesalius published a German translation of the 'Epitome' in Basel, and many plagiarisms and adaptations of the 'Epitome' were published in various European countries throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Because of its much wider publication and distribution, even more than the 'Fabrica', Vesalius' 'Epitome' was the publication that revolutionized the teaching and study of human anatomy" (J. Norman). According to Choulant, the present German edition, published only two months after the Latin one, is even rarer than its predecessor. Apart from the five myologic plates and the "especially well drawn and beautifully executed" (Choulant) nude figures of a man and a woman, all not contained in the 'Fabrica', Vesalius added "some smaller cuts [.] to some of the plates or inserted in the text" (Choulant, 184), which were not used for the Latin 'Epitome'. It contains Vesalius's own dedication to Philip of Padua, later King Philip II of Spain, as well as the translator's dedication to Duke Christoph of Wuerttemberg and Teck. - Of the utmost rarity: while the census by Horowitz and Collins (NY, 1943) lists no less than 154 copies of the original 1543 edition of Vesalius's 'Fabrica', OCLC lists about 23, partly incomplete copies of the Latin 'Epitome', but only 4 of th [Attributes: First Edition]
      [Bookseller: Antiquariat INLIBRIS Gilhofer Nfg. GmbH]
Last Found On: 2013-08-01           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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