Who draws the pictures?

Charles Estienne (1504–ca 1564)
La dissection des parties du corps humain
Paris: S. de Colines, 1546

As dissection became more common practice authors sought to illustrate their texts with realistic representations of the bodies they described. The publication of Charles Estienne’s Dissection of the human body suggests this was seldom straightforward. Estienne began work on the book as a student in Paris in the 1530s, but publication was delayed until 1545 because of a dispute with the surgeon Étienne de la Rivière, who wanted more credit for his contributions to the images in the book. In the end many of the woodcuts were copied from a famous series of erotic engravings of the Loves of the Gods and adapted. We can see clearly here how a section of the woman’s torso has been modified and an insert added to reveal she is carrying twins. This copy was given to the Library in 1715 by George I.

K.7.17, pp. 300–301

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