Segments in this Video

Introduction: The Beauty of Anatomy (02:15)


The anatomical investigations of second century Greek doctor, Galen, influenced artist Leonardo da Vinci and in 1537, physician Andreas Vesalius, who became the most famous anatomist in Europe.

Claudius Galen (01:52)

Roman Empire physician and surgeon, Claudius Galen, is known for his studies of anatomy, balance and for theorizing about how humors, environment and the mind influence health.

Galen's Persian Translation and Illustration (02:48)

Galen learned about anatomy by dissecting animals and treating gladiator wounds. Galen never illustrated his writings, but a 1387 Persian translation has five illustrations.

Anatomy and Theology in the 15th Century (03:30)

At London's Lambeth Palace, a Book of Hours finished in 1498 has an anatomical illustration relating organs to heavenly bodies and indicating the best times for bleeding away the bad humors, influenced by Galen.

Galen's Influence on Renaissance Artists (02:26)

Students work on a model in the dissecting room. After the fall of Constantinople, ancient texts like Galen's influenced Renaissance artists like Leonardo da Vinci who dissected human bodies.

Leonardo da Vinci: The Scientist (04:20)

Leonardo's anatomical drawings and annotations are kept at Windsor Castle. Da Vinci dissected human corpses for first hand observation; his drawings are anatomically correct.

Clockwork Universe (02:23)

In Florence, Italy, da Vinci used his knowledge to produce anatomically correct art, which he believed reflected God's work, and the human body's machinery, a microcosm of the universe.

Leonardo da Vinci's Dissecting Theater (03:51)

In a Florence hospita, da Vinci performed a dissection of an old man who recently died. His drawing is remarkable as it shows an androgynous figure.

Art and Anatomy Joined (03:28)

Galen and his successors transformed anatomy and art. Andreas Vesalius illustrated his medical lectures with large charts; in 1543 his "Atlas of the Human Body," based on his dissections, was printed.

Andreas Vesalius: The Body in Movement (04:01)

The quality and arrangement of Vesalius'drawings are artful as well as anatomically detailed. They show the body in movement and illustrate bones from various views.

Vesalius Early Years (02:20)

Vesalius was born in Brussels in 1514. Studying in Paris, he stole corpses' body parts, becoming an anatomy expert. As Lecturer of Anatomy in Padua, Vesalius performed public dissections.

Vesalius' Public Dissection Theater (04:36)

In Padua, Vesalius performed public dissections of criminals in a multi-tiered theater before crowds that came to see the justice of the city state and a theological demonstration of Divine design.

Vesalius' Book of Human Anatomy (03:05)

Vesalius rejects the Medieval anatomists and follows Galen's first hand observation of the skeleton, then muscles, nerves, blood vessels, then the organs and brain. Vesalius created his detailed book of anatomy, "De Humani Corporis Fabrica."

Vesalius Returns to Classical Ideals (02:55)

As every human body has imperfections, Vesalius's bodies are idealized, based on classical art and Polycletus' ideal. Vesalius became physician to the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V.

Vesalius' Influence in England (04:23)

By the 1560s, Vesalius' influence reached England as shown in a book detailing a dissection in Cambridge. Cut-outs from 15th century manuscripts were being layered over later student texts.

Founder of Modern Anatomy (01:09)

By the end of the 16th century, anatomy was a respected scientific discipline, largely due to Vesalius. His "Fabrica" set the Gold Standard for anatomy for the next 300 years.

Credits: Beauty of Anatomy: Part 1 (00:38)

Credits: Beauty of Anatomy: Part 1

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Beauty of Anatomy: Part 1

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In this series, Adam Rutherford looks at the work of second century anatomist of the Roman Empire, Claudius Galen. Galen used first hand experience to describe his anatomical observations in writing so detailed that later Persian translations included illustrations. After the fall of Constantiople, classical works influenced Renaissance thinkers and artists like Leonardo da Vinci, who also performed dissections to discover how the human body works. Following Galen's evidence based investigation, Andreas Vesalius performed public dissections in Padua, noting in detailed illustrations and descriptions the human skeleton, muscles, nerves, organ and brain. His illustrations were classically posed before a landscape, showing a body in motion. Vesalius is known as the Founder of Modern Anatomy because of his "De Humani Corporis Fabrica" (The Fabric of the Human Body), that is as artful as it is accurate. A BBC Production.

Length: 51 minutes

Item#: BVL93161

ISBN: 978-1-68272-042-4

Copyright date: ©2014

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