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BERENGARIO DA CARPI, Giacomo.


Isagogae breves p[er]lucide ac uberrime in anatomia[m] humani corporis a co[m]mun i[n] Medicoru[m] Academia usitata… [Colophon:] Impressum & noviter revissum Bononie [Bologna]: per Benedictum Hectoris… 1523.

Price £ GBP 22000.00

4to (in 8s), 80 leaves. With 23 full-page anatomical woodcuts within typographical borders, title within woodcut border incorporating a dissection scene, printer’s woodcut device on last leaf. Name deleted from central tablet of title-page leaving a hole neatly repaired from behind but with loss of a few words of the verses on the verso, also tiny hole in fore-edge margin and worm hole in lower margin (both repaired), two tiny worm holes in lower margin of following 3 leaves, fore-edge margin of I6 cropped affecting marginal notes on recto and verso, 2 woodcuts lightly inked. Early 19th century green straight-grained morocco (extremities very slightly rubbed), gilt border on sides, spine gilt and with red morocco label, cerise endpapers. A very clean and pretty copy.

Second edition of Berengario’s Isagoge, containing the loveliest and most important pre-Vesalian anatomical illustrations. In 1521 Berengario published a commentary on the then obsolete anatomical compendium of Mondino. He added illustrations, which were the first anatomical illustrations taken from nature and the best and most important pre-Vesalian illustrations. He thus inaugurated a new epoch in anatomy, correcting numerous errors and pioneering independent research into the anatomy of separate parts of the body. In the following year he replaced his Commentaria, now seen as the most important forerunner of Vesalius, with this Isagogae. It has the same arrangement as the Commentaria, uses many of the same woodcuts, and has additional anatomical observations including a description of the valves of the heart. The present second edition added three more anatomical woodcuts as well as some revisions to the illustrations; these alterations and additions emphasised the anatomy of the heart and brain, and include the first published view of the cerebral ventricles from an actual dissection. This edition also re-uses the title-page border from the Commentaria, with some small alterations. “Berengario was the first anatomist to publish illustrated treatises on anatomy based on his own dissections. His Commentaria on the fourteenth-century Anatomia of Mondino was the first work since the time of Galen to display any considerable amount of original anatomical information based upon personal investigation and observation. The woodcut illustrations of muscle men posed before a landscape background in this work, while crude and lacking in detail in comparison to those in Vesalius’s Fabrica, represent the model on which Vesalius based his series of larger and more scientifically portrayed muscle men…” (Norman catalogue, note to the Commentaria, of which the Isagogae is a textually condensed version). See G&M 368 (first edition; “this is the work by which Berengario is best known”). Choulant/Frank pp. 136–142. Putti, Berengario da Carpi, pp. 148–154. See Stillwell 599 (“improved text and illustrations”). Norman catalogue 189.

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