De humani coporis fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body)

Andreas Vesalius produced his great exploration of the human body when he was only twenty-eight years old. The most celebrated illustrations in the book are the full-page skeletons and ‘muscle-men’, which adopt the most striking poses. One skeleton is shown contemplating a skull. The words inscribed on the plinth are taken from a classical Roman text, an elegy in the Appendix Vergiliana: ‘Honouring the Muses and Apollo in luxurious gardens, he reclined babbling verse among the tuneful birds. Aonian writings will eclipse marble monuments: genius means life, all else will belong to death.’

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Woodcuts

In Latin; 712 pages, 405 x 270 mm

Contemporary wooden-boarded binding: re-covered with brown sheepskin with blind tooling, and provided with new endleaves, in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century