Indiana University Bloomington

Anatomia Animata: Anatomy and Medicine in William Harvey's Century

Govard Bidloo

Govard Bidloo. Anatomia Humani Corporis, Centum & Quinque Tabulis ... Amsterdam: Sumptibus Viduae Joannis à Someren, Haeredum Joannis à Dyk, Henrici & Viduae Theodori Boom, 1685.

Bidloo's text was the first large–scale anatomical atlas to be published since Vesalius' De Humani Corporis Fabrica in 1543 and 1555. Whereas Vesalius' images were woodcuts, Bidloo's were created with copperplates.

Anton Nuck described the work as follows: "that Mons. Bidloo, a skilful chirurgeon of Amsterdam, had newly shewed him above 100 anatomical figures of the parts of a man as big as the life, ingraven on copper, with a description of the parts, but not of their use."

The images of the brain and the nerves were particularly useful to the seventeenth–century researcher and physician as they showed structures in much greater detail than would have been possible in a smaller book. However, the text came under considerable criticism, as it did not contain much explanation of the figures.

The illustration shows a human heart with several pins strategically placed to demonstrate the directional flow of blood through the heart. This artistic representation was not novel with Bidloo, but the quality and the size of the images are unmatched in the seventeenth century.

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