- Vesalius , Andreas
- (1514–1564) Belgian anatomistVesalius, born the son of a pharmacist in Brussels, Belgium, was educated at the universities of Louvain, Paris, and Padua, receiving his MD from the last in 1537. He was immediately appointed professor of anatomy and surgery at Padua where he remained until 1543 when, at the age of 28, he joined the Hapsburg court. Here Vesalius successively served as physician to the Emperor Charles V and King Philip II of Spain. For reasons unknown, he left their service sometime after 1562 and died while on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.Vesalius thus completed his anatomical researches in the short period between 1538, when he produced his six anatomical plates the Tabulae sex (Six Tables), and 1543 when his masterpiece, De humani corporis fabrica (On the Structure of the Human Body) was printed in Basel. With this work he gained the reputation of being the greatest of Renaissance anatomists.The work generally followed the physiological system of Galen and repeated some traditional errors; for example, he described the supposed pores in the septum of the heart despite confessing his inability to detect them. Other parts, such as the female generative organs, were treated inadequately because of a lack of the appropriate cadavers. However Vesalius's main innovation was to insist on conducting, personally, dissections on human cadavers, which taught him that Galenic anatomy was not to be treated unquestioningly.The work of Vesalius was of considerable significance in marking the departure from ancient concepts. The Fabricapresented in a single, detailed, comprehensive, and accessible work (superbly illustrated, probably at the Titian school in Venice), a basis for following generations of anatomists to compare with their own dissections. It has been said that only after Vesalius did medicine became a science.
Scientists. Academic. 2011.