Addendum: Vesalius in Holland

The later sixteenth-century struggle of the Dutch Netherlands to achieve independence from Spanish rule coincided with a new cultural vitality. The foundation of the University of Leiden in 1575 was to be of immense importance for the study of medicine and especially of anatomy. Many of the early professors were from Padua. Pieter Paaw (1564-1617) who became Professor of Anatomy and Botany at Leiden, and was reponsible for having its new anatomy theatre built (1597), had himself studied at Padua (Roberts and Tomlinson, 1992, pp.306-9).

A flourishing book trade made possible the extensive publication and dissemination of scientific and technical information of all kinds. Among the books published were many reissues and updated versions of older material, including much that derived from Vesalius.

[ai0501, p.17]

1) Pieter Paaw (1564-1617), Epitome anatomica, Opus redivivum; cui accessere notae ac commentaria P.Paaw, Leiden, 1616. Page size: 192x145 mm. RCPE: Bh.2.14; Cushing VI.D.-19P

Paaw (or Pauw) was Professor of Anatomy at Leiden. This reprint of Vesalius' Epitome is accompanied by Paaw's Commentaries. It is illustrated with 13 engravings copied from those in Vesalius' original Fabrica. It is interesting that in many cases an attempt has been made to integrate the images with the text in the way that Vesalius had originally intended. However, because the illustrations were engraved, two separate printings were necessary, one for text and one for image. The result is that the illustrations are not always accurately or elegantly positioned on the page.

2) Nicolas Fontanus, De Humani Corporis Fabrica Epitome, cum Annotationibus Nicolai Fontani, Amsterdam, 1642. Page size 374 x 255 mm. RCPE: Ss.2.5. Cushing VI.D.-13.

This is a new edition of plates first used in Jacob Baumann's Anatomia Deudsch, printed in Nuremberg in 1551. Baumann's plates were copied from those of Geminus.

2004 Edinburgh University Library / Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
1 November 2004

5x5.GIF (814 bytes)