Andreas Vesalius (1514-64) was a Belgian anatomist and physician whose dissections of the
human body and descriptions of his finding helped to correct misconceptions prevailing
since ancient times.
Vesalius was born in Brussels and attended the University of Louvain and later the
University of Paris, where he studied from 1533 to 1536. At Paris he studied medicine and
developed an interset in anatomy. With further study at the University of Padua in 1537
Vesalius obtained his medical degree and a job as a lecturer on surgery. During his
research Vesalius showed that the anatomical teachings of Galen, revered in medical
schools, was based upon the dissections of animals even though they were meant as a guide
to the human body.
Vesalius wrote the revolutionary texts, De Humani Corporis Fabrica, which were seven
volumes on the structure of the human body. The volumes were completely illustrated with
fine engravings based on his own drawings. These were the most accurate and comprehensive
anatomical texts to date and led to his appointment as physician to Holy Roman emporer
Charles V. After Charles V resigned his son, Philip II, appointed Vesalius to his staff of
physicians in 1559. After several years at the imperial court in Madrid, Vesalius made a
voyage to the Holy Land. On the voyage home in 1564, he died in a shipwreck off of the
island of Zacynthus.
Submitted by Ron DuLong