Compendiosa totius anatomie delineatio, ære exarata

Collection History

This digital collection draws upon the materials selected for an exhibition called "Seeing Is Believing," held in the Library's Gottesman Exhibition Hall, October 23, 1999 - February 19, 2000. Natural history materials were included very selectively in that exhibition; however, natural history materials have their own separate presentations in NYPL Digital Gallery, devoted to plants and to animals respectively.

Background

The digital presentation reprises the exhibition's overarching premise: pictures, as Leonhart Fuchs noted in the introduction to his great herbal of 1542, "can communicate information much more clearly than the words of even the most eloquent men."

The exhibition posited three categories of scientific images. One allows viewers to "see" or understand information that defies direct observation by using different methods to show various kinds of theory or reality. For example, Copernicus's simple diagram of the solar system presented theory based on careful study. Other scientists, such as Vesalius, who elegantly depicted the muscles of the human body and Trouvelot' who gloriously attempted to present the wonders of the heavens, based their observations, though selective, on reality. A third type of image acts as a record of direct observation and communication, such as the steps for conducting an experiment or procedure, or simply the equipment needed, such as the apparatus Boyle used in his experiments on air.

The exhibition and this digital presentation share the same proviso. "Although not providing a comprehensive history of scientific and medical illustration, these images open a window on the radical shift in the cosmology of early modern Europe that began around 1543 with the publication of seminal works by Copernicus and Vesaliius, and continued with the work of Newton, Harvey, Darwin, Curies and others."

Related Resources

Baigrie, Brian S., ed. Picturing Knowledge: Historical and Philosophical Problems Concerning the Use of Art in Science. (c1996)

Ford, Brian J. Images of Science: A History of Scientific Illustration. (1992)

Horblitt, Harrison. One Hundred Books Famous in Science. (1964)

Lee, Jennifer B. and Miriam Mandelbaum. Seeing Is Believing: 700 Years of Scientific and Medical Illustration. (1999)

NYPL. "Heavens Above: Art & Actuality." (2001) <http://www.nypl.org/research/sibl/trouvelot/>

_____. "Seeing Is Believing." (1999-2000) <http://seeing.nypl.org/>

Robin, Harry. The Scientific Image: From Cave to Computer. (1992)

Tufte, Edward R. Envisioning Information. (1991, c1990)

See also the following Collection Guides for additional materials: Nature Illustrated: Flowers, Plants, and Trees, 1550-1900, and Classic Illustrated Zoologies and Related Works, 1550-1900.

Collection Data

Names
Geminus, Thomas (d. 1562) (Author)
Dates / Origin
Date Issued: 1545
Place Term: Londini
Publisher: [In officina I. Herfordie]
Library locations
Rare Book Division
Shelf locator: *KC+++ 1545 (Geminus, T. Compendiosa)
Topics
Human body
Genres
Prints
Rare books
Notes
Ownership : J.S. Billings Mem. Coll

Content : Made up of the Latin text of Vesalius's Epitome together with some portions of his longer work, and illustrated with a set of plates engraved on copper by Geminus himself. These are moderately skilful copies of nearly all the woodcuts [from drawings by the painter Johannes van Calcar] in Vesalius's original book together with a few reduced from those larger and finer cuts which had been collected in the Epitome ... Vesalius ... complained bitterly, not of the piracy of his text ... but of the injustice done to his illustrations by want of knowledge and accuracy in the copyist ...

Citation/reference : Hazlitt II, 244

Citation/reference : Brunet, tome 2, p. 1525

Statement of Responsibility: Per Thomam Geminum
Physical Description
Extent: 45 l. 40 pl. 41 cm. (fol.)
Form: Engravings ( Library of Congress Thesaurus for Graphic Materials )
Extent: 45 l. : 40 pl. ; 41 cm. (fol.)
Type of Resource
Still image
Languages
Latin
Identifiers
RLIN/OCLC : 13794220
NYPL catalog ID (B-number) : b14294068
UUID: 503e1810-c6dd-012f-efe1-58d385a7bc34
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