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Selected images from the Fabrica

Vivitur ingenio

The Fabrica was a large illustrated book reflecting the grand ambitions of a twenty-eight-year old who set out to impress the Emperor Charles V in every way possible through his book. From the smallest and rarest ossicles to the full-size muscle figures that fill up the page, the Fabrica contains an enormous variety of images, each carefully crafted along with the text, to demonstrate Vesalius’s mastery of the whole of the human body based on first-hand dissection. Compared to those found in earlier works on anatomy, the images in the Fabrica surpass all, in terms of their size, detail, quantity and quality. They mark the pinnacle of woodcut illustration in a printed book that has been rarely matched since. It is almost impossible to do justice to the rich variety of images that may be found in the Fabrica, but here is a small selection of them.