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18th Century

The authors of these works have differing reputations; some for excellence or new techniques, and others for errors and plagiarism.

CESI, Carlo.

L'Anatomia dei Pittori Signore Carlo Cesio. Nurnberg: Johann Daniel Preissler, 1759.

Carlo Cesi (1626-1686), a painter and copper etcher, maintained an academy for painters in his home in Rome. He is best known for providing anatomical information for artists. Some critics have noted inaccuracies in his work.

This page shows a strange combination of poorly rendered surface anatomy and musculature. The deltoids and the scapulas are incorrectly drawn.


A Compleat Treatise of the Muscles, as They Appear in Humane Body and Arise in Dissection; With Diverse Anatomical Observations Not Yet Discover'd. London: T. Newcombe, 1681.

John Browne's (1642-1702) text on muscles was successful in terms of being reprinted four times; however, it is also the subject of accusations of plagiarism. The illustrations bear resemblance to plates published by Guilio Casserio. One of Casserio's plates is shown below at right for comparison.

In addition, the text is similar to writing published by William Molins. An exerpt from a microfilmed copy of Molins's MYKOTOMIA (1648) is also shown at right below for comparison.

SANTORINI, Giovanni Domenico.

Anatomici Summi Septemdecim Tabulae Quas Nunc Primum Edit Atque Explicat . . . Parma: ex Regia typographia, 1775.

Giovanni Domenico Santorini (1681-1737) is considered one of the most exact anatomists of his era, and, as a result, a facial muscle (risorius), a pair of cartilages (cornicula) of the larynx, and other veins and ducts have been named after him.

Unfortunately, his career was cut short by his untimely death, and his chief work, the text on display, was not published until 38 years after his death. Some consider this work one of the best of the 18th century.


Osteographica, or, The Anatomy of the Bones . . London: [1733?]

William Cheseldon (1688-1752) was distinguished as a surgeon in several large hospitals in London.

The title page of this work illustrates the camera obscura technique that he employed. The concept, a forerunner of the modern camera, dates back to antiquity. The image of the object being drawn is projected through a small hole onto a canvas where it can be traced at its natural size.

ALBINUS, Bernhard Siegfried.

Historia Musculorum Hominis. Leiden: T. Haak & H. Mulhovius, 1734.

Bernhard Albinus (1697-1770) is credited with beginning an epoch during which investigations were carried out with near perfection. He insisted on incorporating observations from multiple specimens, not just one body; he claimed the composite was a closer representation of the truth.

Albinus approached his subjects like an architect might. He insisted on accurate measurements and employed an approach whereby the artist stood varying distances from the skeleton and viewed it through grids of netting to obtain proper perspective and proportion.

CORTONA, Pietro Berretino.

Tabulae Anatomicae. Rome: Antonii de Rubeis, 1741.

Pietro Cortona (1596-1669) was a painter and architect. There is little known about the anatomist who was involved in this work and the text is considered to have little value. While many admire Cortona's artistry, one critic claimed he "renders anatomic figures repulsive" because he places the open cavity within the context of a living person.

HALLER, Albrect von.

Iconvm Anatomicarvm Qvibvs Praecipvae Partes Corporis Hvmani Exqvista Cvra Delineatae Continentvr . . . Gottingen: Typis Abrami Vandenhoeck, 1743-1756.

Albrect von Haller (1708-1777) studied under Albinus, and his illustrations reflect similar standards of clarity, vividness, and artistry. He is especially known for his illustrations of the arterial system.

Haller is not only considered a significant anatomist, he is also known for the diversity of his interests and his high level of productivity. In addition to medicine, he studied mathematics and botany, and he wrote poetry.

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