8 Anatomical Images From the 15th Century

Shaunacy Ferro

Humanity’s understanding of the world has come a long way since the 1400s—just look at our understanding of the human body. Sometime in the mid-15th century, a scholar—possibly inspired by the Greek physician Galen of Pergamon—published a handful of drawings of the human form at the end of an anatomy text. Now housed at the Wellcome Library in London, this early medical textbook is a time capsule of hypotheses about what people looked like under their skin. (For one thing, no one knew how to draw a realistic heart shape, apparently.)

According to the library, these illustrations are prototypes of the anatomical drawings found in Fasciculus Medicinae, a 1491 collection of medical texts. There are diagrams of the skeleton, the muscular system, and a very strange-looking illustration of the organs of a pregnant woman whose baby looks to be banging on the walls of her uterus trying to get out. Here are eight images from the early days of medicine:

The male figure:

A human skeleton:

“Muscle man”:

A pregnant woman:

A figure known as “wound man” shows all the ways the human body can be mistreated:

See the full book here

[h/t: Public Domain Review]

All images from Anatomia via the Wellcome Library // Public Domain