A rare opportunity to view the first edition of a key Renaissance text by the 16th century Flemish anatomist Andreas Vesalius will be available to visitors to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow on Saturday 20th September for Doors Open Day.
This rare and important work, entitled De Humani Corporis Fabrica (on the fabric of the human body) was printed in 1543 in Basle and contains magnificent woodcuts of partly anatomised cadavers imaginatively ‘come to life’ against an Italian landscape.
The famous ‘muscle men’ as they are known, are not just beautiful works of art in their own right but represent a radical new way of thinking about the human body. In contrast to his predecessors who had relied on ancient texts as a source of anatomical knowledge and rarely dissected themselves, Vesalius conducted his own dissections and, as a consequence, realised that much of the ancient teaching was incorrect.
Known as the father of modern anatomy, this year is the 500th anniversary of Vesalius’s birth so it is particularly apt that his work should be celebrated. The volume, rarely on view to the public, will be accompanied by an interactive display so that visitors can ‘turn the pages’ and find out more about this groundbreaking text.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy the College’s extensive art collection and find out more about the history of the College, founded in 1599, as they go round the beautiful 19th century building.
The College, situated at 232-242 St Vincent Street, will be open from 10.00 am until 4.00 pm.