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When art and anatomy converge - presentation to celebrate 500th birthday of revolutionary anatomist on Thursday, December 4 at 12 pm

November 26, 2014
Title page woodcut of De Humani Corporis Fabrica

Title page woodcut of De Humani Corporis Fabrica

The talk, entitled Vesalius at 500: Revisiting the Fabrica Frontispiece, will be held on Thursday, December 4 at 12:00 noon in the Gellene Room, Medical Sciences Building B-515, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences-Newark.

Born in December 1514, Andreas Vesalius revolutionized the study of human anatomy through his monumental 1543 volume De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body).  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:

For more information on the event, contact Bob Vietrogoski, Special Collections Librarian for the George F. Smith Library of the Health Sciences, at or 973-972-7830.

(The celebrated frontispiece of De Humani Corporis Fabrica, a masterpiece of anatomical instruction and artful illustration. Image courtesy of Jeffrey Levine, MD, from the collections of the New York Academy of Medicine.)