Carlino 1999

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Books of the Body: Anatomical Ritual and Renaissance Learning (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1999)

quodlibetarian model:

academic theatre, in which someone discourses on a dissection with others watching

title page woodcuts in 15-16c editions of Mondino dei Liuzzi's Anatomie showing dissections: lector (holding book or standing above body, pointing), sector (dissector), ostensor (translating text into vernacular, indicating body parts to sector) and cadaver (12-9)

  • prominence of book in lector's hands increases with time
  • "scission between the theoretical activity of the physician-anatomist and the practical example directed toward an empirical examination of the cadaver" (19)
  • despite text's emphasis on actual dissections, it repeats some mistakes of Galen and Avicenna, showing that "the anatomy lesson ... turns out to be little more than a ritual to celebrate the ancient classical authorities on the subject thruogh a reading of their texts" (20)
  • "person of the physician anatomist ... becomes merely a student of texts" and "the dissection of the cadaver by the sector becomes a ritualized exercise void of any significant investigative aim" (20)
  • dichotomy between theory and practice

title page of Galen's De anatomicis administrationibus, ParisL Simon de Colines, 1531, shows a change in this model; students rummage in the innards of the cadaver, becoming manually dexterous practitioners of dissection

Vesalius changes this

"By directly observing the cadaver and through his possession of a profound knowledge of earlier anatomical literature, Vesalius was able to confirm, discuss, and correct everything that had been said previously about the different parts of the body. He often entered into open controversy with those who fiercely defended a still vigorous Galenic tradition. His repeated references to dissections he had performed provide what the author himself suggested was the major feature of the Vesalian revolution as later defined by historians. These developments, crucial to both the textual and technical nature of the anatomical discipline, were tied to a series of insights related to the book trade, which make this publishing venture by Vesalius and Oporinus one of the most important and astute successes of the first century of printing. One of Vesalius's greatest merits lay in the fact that he was the first to have understood and exploited this still novel method of expressing and communicating knowledge to its full potential. The publication of the Epitomi, the use of splendid and detailed illustrations as visual aids, the technique of relating text to images, the subdivisions into books, chapters and paragraphs, the illuminated initials that open each of these sections, the title page and portrait of the author -- each of these features was thought out and realized by Vesalius, and his collaborators, as n aspect of the whole enterprise; this kind of integral arrangement had no real precedent in previous publications and conventions and often openly clashed with them. The Fabrica gives a newfound coherence to preexisting material. The so-called Vesalian revolution was probably nothing but a transformation of the forms and ways of using certain tools (dissection and printing, to mention only the most obvious) and of already acquired knowledge." (39-40)

Vesalius's dissections were often private, as opposed to in public demonstrations/theatres

in portrait, Vesalius shown dissecting a woman's hand, with scalpel on one side, and ink/writing implements on the other

16c dissections done on criminal cadavers (92ff.), provided by senator/governors; done during Carnival vacation, when students/public would have time to attend, when it was cold, and when transgressive behavior was permitted (81)

  • masses to be said for the anatomized body
  • "Even if dissection was to be considered a transgressive and profaning act, it was tolerated because it took place at a time when every form of subversion and inversion was concealed under the guise of performance." (81)

on use of cadavers

  • "Their bodies, punished and damned, would continue in their agony even beyond life, since their souls would pay in the hereafter for the sins they had committed." (93)
  • preferred victims of hanging, since it preserved their bodies; however "hanging, at least in theory, was reserved for criminals from the lowest classes and for expecially repugnant crimes (the alternative was beheading, which was reserved primarily for the nobility and for persons of rank)." (94)
  • "On October 16, 1569, nthe Congregation of Roman Deputies 'over the governance of the Gymnasium' sisued a decree enjoining that public anatomies be conducted 'on the bodies of Jews or other infidels who have been publicly executed.' This injunction supports the hypothesis that the anatomist's scalpel was to be used on the bodies of marginalized, ignoble, and despised people so as to avoid prejudicing, as much as possible, the sentiments of Christian piety and the practice of forgiveness." (95)
  • doesn't seem to be connection between type of crime committed and dissection (97)
  • usually done on those without relatives nearby to protest (97-8)

statutes were drawn up delimiting how cadavers could be used (e.g., must be buried immediately after dissection; 20 masses should be said for them, extra money from admission going to give alms to the poor in the name of the deceased's soul); but Carlino shows these weren't often followed

"Many of the anatomist's acts, such as the opening and manipulation of the body, or the delaying of burial, were religiously and anthropologically risky. Only a complex system of regulations, strategies, and controls could protect the act of dissection from being sacrilegious and could provide anatomy with an appropriate foundation for a legitimate future without offending any norms of behavior. But, as I have suggested, the conventions regulating the only occasion in which dissection was feasible, the public anatomy lesson, were frequently not respected." (115-6)

persistence of stron gresistance to dissection into the 16c

"the oposition to dissection was not, as has often been maintained, religious in character. It was even less (as far as public opinion was concerned) an epistemological problem, but was rather an anthroological one. The difficulty resided, it would appear, in the contact with the dead and with blood (contrectare) and in the desecration of the corporeal structure, 'brutalize, would, tear to shreds, lacerate' (saevire, vulnera infligere, dilaniare, dilacerare) all of which denote certain types of contact. The anatomist is compared to an executioner (carnifex), and dissection is deemed wicked (turpis), unworthy (indigna), useless (inutilis), cruel (crudelis), and vile (foeda)." (224-5)

Paper Bodies: A Catalogue of Anatomical Fugitive Sheets, 1538-1687 (London: Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, 1999)

1543, birth of modern anatomy; publication of Vesalius De humani corporis fabrica by publisher Johannes Oporinus

  • model descended from work of Galen

title page of Vesalius -- shows him actually dissecting a human body, paper pen and ink-pot on the table beside him -- "Clearly they are meant to emphasize -- and reiterate through iconography -- the idea that the anatomical text is genereated from the direct observation of a cadaver and from the practice of dissection." (10)

heralds of REVISION and CORRECTION of Galenic tradition

forbidden by church to dissect human body; encourages use of illustrations in Guido da Vigevano's Anatomia of 1345 (13)

Johannes de Ketham, Fasciculus medicinae, Venice, J. and G. de Gregoriis, 1495; woodcuts act as "printed ornament rather than as explanation or clarification of the text"

image of human body as memory palace

Estienne, De dissectione partium corporis humani libri tres, Paris, S. de Colines, 1545; "aesthetic" pleasure of anatomical illustrations; link between eroticism and anatomy (26)

  • human body is "flapped"
"This notion that the communication of knowledge was founded upon the sense of sight and mediated through the aesthetic enjoyment of images, was a feature of Renaissance anatomical culture which found its most mature expression in the work of Vesalius. The intuitions, suggestions, and intimations relating to the use of images in anatomy and first formulated in the earlier literature, from Aristotle to Estienne, are coherently re-elaborated in the Fabrica, where they are carefully applied to the realisation of the figures and to the typographical design of the book. This is why the Fabrica marks a point of no return in the history of epistemology, education and anatomical publishing: after 1543 it was no longer possible to conceive of an anatomical treatise that did not use iconography as an indispensable tool for the demonstratino, explanation and memorisation of the components of the human body and their relation to one another." (32)

Vesalius, Tabulae

"The long tradition of the notion that anatomy was essentially founded upon the act of seeing was made a reality during the course of the Renaissance because the conditions existed that allowed anatomy to flower: a greater access to the direct observation of dissected bodies; the redefinition, through the new medium of print, of the modalities of transmission of knowledge; the establishment of a new visual culture i nwhich images linked the communication of knowledge to aesthetics." (45)

fugitive sheets with superimposed flaps, first published in 1538

"This technique of illustration provided a virtual three-dimensional representation of the printed object and of the subject represented, and allowed the internal organs to be depicted in terms of the functional and spatial relationships between the physiological systems. In short, it translted on to paper the whole concept of anatomical dissection, mimicking the progressive unveiling of the body, from skin to guts." (58)

"Some of the images contained in Vesalius's compendium were printed -- as indicated in the titles which accompany them as well as in instructions at the end -- so that they could be cut out and pasted together to make a human figure, composed of superimposed flaps." (61)

  • heading of penultimate page of Epitome, blood vessels and 11 other minor figures represented

PRECURSORS: Fig. 48: Anatomical figure with flaps, Guido da Vigevano, Anathomia, MS 334, fol. 264r Musee Conde, Chantilly (from E. Wickersheimer (ed.), anatomies de Mondino dei Luzzi et de Guido de Vigevano, Paris, 1926; photo: Wllcome Library, London).; has flap that opens to view the skeleton's innards (mentioned on 81)

  • ALSO SEE "VIERGES OUVRANTES" OR "schreinmadonna", wood sculptures of the seated Virgin with Child, bearing on the front two shutters that open; inside of Virgin's body decorated with sculpted and/or painted scenes and figures, generally of three subjects -- the Passion, the marian cult,a nd the Trinity; vierges ouvrantes first appeared in 13th century, though still being made in to 17th; mainly made along Franco-German border, Alsace in particular; "one could infer from this that the artisans and artists of the region began this tradition of figures with doors, and thatthe invention fo anatomical sheets is a product of it. There is, however, no solid documentary evidence and too few bibliographical references to support this hypothesis." (81n12) -- see Gudrun Radler, Die Schreinmadonna, 'vierge ouvrant'. Von den Bernhardinischen Anfangen bis zur Frauenmystik im Deutschordensland (Frankfurt am Main, 1990).
  • Fig. 47: "Two anatomical figures (sagittal sections), MS X. 118 (Collectsion fo the Swedish Royal Library, Stockholm) -- 1412, De arte phisicali et de cirurgia, by English surgeon John Ardene -- body divided into two symmetrical parts; figure holds its own body open

Fig. 50, Richard Helain, Anathomia ossium totius humani corporis, leipzig, Wolfgang Stoeckel, 1501, woodcut; also Fig. 51, Skeleton, MS fr. 19994, fol. 38v -- both show skeleton with visual "tags" coming off them (although the latter is manuscript)

Heinrich Vogtherr -- first editions in 1538; fugitive sheets probably issued with bookelt Auzlegung unnd beschreibung der Anathomi, oder wahrhafften abconterfettung eynes inwendigen cOrpers des manns und weibes, mitt erklerung seiner innerlichen, gelider ... ; short survey of anatomy addressed to a popular audience (61)

  • non-specialist, non-academic audience
  • production costs kept down by making the male and female figures fro the same blocks, substituting only the head and internal organs

Hans Weygel, Nuremberg woodcut engraver and print merchant, cut new blocks copying Vogtherr

  • published in color version in 1550, 1556

organs reused across different sections of the text

Thomas Geminus, physician, produced print on copper around 1546 showing points on the body that could be bled; 1559, republished 1553 English translation of Compendiosa totius anatomie delineatio with a new dedicatino to Queen Elizabeth and a new colophon

  • bound a fugitive sheet with superimposed flaps printed by either himself or Gille Godet, with two leaves of letterpress text
  • letting of blood, then engraved figures/organs spread throughout book, then flap anatomy --

1613, three fugitive sheets with superimposed flaps engraved on copper, "immense publishing success in the 17th and 18th centuries"; the Visio Prima, male & female together; Secunda and Tertia showing man, woman, respectively

  • portrait with caption "I. R. inventor" [Johann Remelin], and "L. K. sculptor" [Lucas Kilian, artists and copper engraver from Augsburg] on bottom left, "Stephan michelspacher, excudit" on bottom right [printer active in Ulm and Augsburg
  • "All editions of these sheets appeared with the sole name of Michelspacher, without any mention of the author apart from the initials: a quarto companion volume contains the Elucidarius, tabulis synopticis, Microcosmici laminis incisi aeneis ... dated 1614 with Remmelin's name in an anagram at the end, and the text Pinax microcosmographicus dated 1615." (71)
  • engravings and texts finally published together with full name of author in 1619 in Augsburg by David Franck, though Michelspacher's name continues to appear on the first plate
  • "In his letter to the reader, Remmelin explains that the figures had been published previously without his knowledge, and that he had designed these images solely for personal use. It was only on the insistence of friends and colleagues who had seen and used them in the 1613 edition that he had been persuaded to reprint them, this time in his name and with the necessary corrections, so that they would be available to whoever needed to consult them." (71)
  • 1619 title page, "vitam nudi ingredimur," "vita nudi egredimur"
"The various ways in which Wechtlin's woodcuts were distributed and sold -- as fugitive sheets, together with a manual for surgeons and barbers or bound in a text written by a university-trained doctor -- testify to their flexibility, and show the adaptability of anatomical discourse to a variety of contexts once a readership no longer bound to one social, professional or cultural class began to be able to interpret and appropriate it." (91)
  • woodcuts published by Schott in 1517 as a model for fugitive sheets with flaps, "not only in terms of form, of their status as imagines contrafactae, but also, and mostly, in the 'spirit' in which they were produced and published, and with which the Strasbourg publishing world, consisting of a large number of printers, booksellers and wood-block cutters, was imbued in the first decades of the 16th century." (91)

Vogtherr as versatile woodcut designer, printer and author;

  • Eyn SchOne und Gotselige kurtzweil eines Christlichen LossbUchs, Strasbourg, 1539: included a volvelle around a bone pivot -- "a device which shows, as do the fugitive sheets, just how much he was wont to invent unusual methods of communication aimed at capturing the public's attention. Vogtherr's publishing activities, particularly those that engaged him during his first Strasbourg period (from 1526 to 1541), show his determination to use printing technology (applied both to text and image) to help foster the circulation and spread of ideas and knowledge through those strata of society that were less familiar with books -- aiming at the very same groups as the other Strasbourg printers and booksellers with whom Vogtherr had collaborated occasionally." (93)

most fugitive sheets from printers "intent on finding new outlets in the press and print market" (93)

other centers

Augsburg; Maximilian I sponsored print and woodcut projects at beginning of 16c

  • Jost de Negker established his own shop to sell his woodcuts; made money by printing pirated editions of Vesalius's Tabulae and Vogtherr's female figure
"The publication of the anatomical sheets is a consequence of the increasing numbers everywhere in Europe of small print-and-sale workshops similar to the one de Negker founded in Augsburg." (94-5)

corner-press printers signed the works they published as Formschneider or Briefmaler

  • maps, representation of political events, propaganda and religious polemics, local portraits

Hans Guldenmundt, Nuremberg (95-6)

Cornelis and Willem Liefrinck, Antwerp (96-7)

Godet, wood-block cutter and printseller of French origin, emigrated to England in 1540s for religious reasons; produced nothing but prints on subjects for wider public (e.g. map of England, view of London, 10 Commandments) (97-8)

"Put together, all these elements suggest that the woodcuts, drawings or even wood-blocks were circulating not only between Germany and Flanders but also between Flanders, france and England. The traffic in such works, of which the fugitive sheets were a part, was channelled on the one hand through the French and FLemish Huguenot communities in England, which numbered many artisans working in the world of printing, and on the other thruogh connections which continued to exist in spit of religious persecutions, confessional differences and exile." (98)

led to production of new profession: woodcut designers, draughtsmen, wood-block cutters, printsellers, merchants

"One fact about the fugitive sheets, however, is that they repeated over and over again the model established in the Strawbourg edition of 1538. They are in effect one print, to which the woodcut designer, the wood-block cutter or the printer added variations, small textual, iconographical or typographical changes that made possible their circulation in different cultural and social environments, and allowed them to be sold to a broad spectrum of customers, thereby increasing production while cutting costs." (104)

two possible uses for fugitive sheets: mnemonic tool and an invitation to self-knowledge; recognition of divine power and a memento mori

used by barbers and surgeons who would let blood, use leeches, other external medical duties -- c.f. Geminus, wood-cuts originally for bloodletting

bodies spread out, organs split across page

see e.g. Cat. 30: Wittenberg; Wellcome (1. EPB 287.2); organs laid beside the figures, even with some shading -- c.f. Spratt, instruments

Cat. 38: "VISCRVM, HOC EST // interiorum corporis humani partium, viua delineatio." -- along the top inscribed on the man's seat: "mebra hominis positu, numeroq; tabella figurat, Quid longis opus est, si breuis esse potes?"

Cat. 47: 1613, Stephan Michelspacher [Augsburg] "Uisio Prima // [some greek] // ABSOLVTAM ADMIRANDAE PARTIVM HOMINIS CREATVRARVM DIUINARVM PRAESTANTISSIMI FABRICAE EXIMIO ARTIFICIO SCVLPTAM // structuram revidendam exhibentis: // CVM ENARRATIONE HISTORICA BREUI AT PERSPICVA ET // Explicationis & Indicis vice addita."

  • this is Remmelin's first one, but name only attached as "I. R."
  • figures standing, showing muscles; surrounded by angels, clouds, etc.
  • more elaborate frame
  • organs spread out, but symetrical; partso f lets cut off, and torso is split -- look more like mannikins displayed like the sculptures of babies and skeletons

Cat. 48: "Catoptri microcosmici / visio prima, / absolutam admirandae partium hominis creaturarum divinarum praestantissimi fabricae eximio artificio sculptam structuram spectandam & revidendam exhibentis, cum enarratione historica brevi at perspicua et explicationis & indicis vice addita.

  • organs and network of nerves, etc., laid out mimic the natural flowers and clouds around the figures -- visually places/situates the inside of the human body within the natural world

Peter Stent

Cat. 57, Four Seasons of Humanity 1680-90; probably of German (or Flemish) origin Four sheets 1. Ver 2. Aestas 3. Autumnus 4. Hyems

  • design possibly made between 1645-1655; unlikely to be later than 1660; watermak dates the paper of this set to 1680-90
  • each engraving depicts a season, one of the "ages of man", one continent, one of the four humors, etc. anatomy is not their only subject, also cover astronomy, astrology, zoology, botany, geography, physiology, urology and palmistry

manuscript fugitive sheets! Cat. 61, drawing after Vogtherr's female figure (1538); Cat. 62, drawing after Hans Guldenmundt (1539), male and female figure with organs spread out, colored