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Vesalius at 500: History of Medicine Lecture

November 24, 2014

Born in December 1514, Andreas Vesalius revolutionized the study of human anatomy through his monumental 1543 volume De Humani Corporis Fabrica.  The Fabrica overturned many of Galen’s erroneous anatomical theories and reached new artistic heights in anatomical illustration.

To honor Vesalius’s 500th birthday, Rutgers University Libraries, Special Collections – History of Medicine is pleased to host a presentation on the iconography of the Fabrica’s celebrated title page woodcut, which depicts the anatomist Vesalius performing a public dissection before a diverse crowd.

Dr. Jeffrey Levine and Dr. Michael Nevins will offer new insight into this classic image, with special attention to a mysterious bearded man turning away from the dissection. They believe him to be Lazarus de Frigeis, whom Vesalius described as “the distinguished Jewish physician” who taught him Hebrew words for the bones.  Yet the phrase “distinguished Jewish physician” was deleted from the second edition of the Fabrica. Drs. Levine and Nevins will present their theories regarding this and other Vesalian subjects.

Dr. Levine is an internist, geriatrician and graduate of New Jersey Medical School class of 1981.  As a medical student, he took a medical history elective with Dr. Morris Saffron which inspired him to study the life and work of Andreas Vesalius. Dr. Nevins is a past President of the Medical History Society of New Jersey and the author of books on Abraham Flexner, New Jersey medical history, and Jewish medicine. 

For more information about the presenters:

The lecture will take place on Thursday, December 4th at 12 Noon in the Medical Sciences Building, Rosemary Gellene Room, B515.

For more information on the event, contact

(Image courtesy of Jeffrey Levine, MD, from the collections of the New York Academy of Medicine)