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[Historia de la composición del cuerpo humano. Italian] Anotomia del corpo hvmano di Giouanni Valuerde : co’ discorsi del medisimo, nouamente ristampata e con l’aggiunta d’alcune tauole ampliata. (Venice, 1682) Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, Northwestern University, Evanston.
by Juan d’ Valverde de Amusco (Spanish, ca. 1525—1588)
About the Book:
Juan Valverde de Amusco (Spanish, ca. 1525—1588) grew up in a small agricultural village in the Spanish kingdom of Lyon. He began studying anatomy under Vesalius’s predominant rival, Realdus Columbo (ca. 1515—1559), in Padua and Pisa, and later worked with Bartholomew Eustachio (ca. 1500—1574) in Rome. Valverde is best known for his influential anatomical treatise, the Historia de la composición del cuerpo humano (1556). The Historia’stext and images borrow heavily from Andreas Vesalius’s De humani corporis fabrica of 1543, and scholars differ on exactly how much of Valverde’s treatise constitutes original contributions. Valverde envisioned the Historia as an improvement on the Vesalian model, and as such his treatise incorporates several modified Vesalian plates recut as copper engravings. Valverde worked with an artist who has been identified as Gasparo Becerra who was a student of Giorgio Vasari. The engraver was most likely Niccoló Beatrizet, whose initials appear on several Historia plates. Although he acknowledged the reuse of Vesalian plates, Valverde was accused of plagiarism by his contemporaries. When the first edition was published in Spanish, it was said that Valverde had merely translated Vesalius’s Latin text into Spanish. In an attempt to dissipate such rumors, Valverde responded to these critics, many of whom were Italian, by publishing a version translated into Italian entitled, Anatomia del corpo humano (1560). In spite of all the accusations, Valverde’s atlas gained popularity and was eventually reprinted over twelve times in at least four languages. This is probably due in part to the fact that it was more affordable than its Vesalian counterpart and more accessible since it was first published in Spanish and Italian rather than Latin.

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