CASSERIO, Giulio (ca 1552-1616). De vocis auditisque organis historia anatomica. Ferrara: Vittorio Baldini, 1601 (Part II: 1600).
2 parts in one volume, 2o (377 x 253 mm). 2 engraved titles, 2 engraved portraits (of the dedicatee Ranuccio Farnese, Duke of Parma, and of the author), title and portraits within oval medallions set within elaborate allegorical borders, 34 full-page anatomical engravings of which 22 of the vocal organs and 12 plates of the auditory organs, corrected states of plates 5 and 6 mounted as issued, woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces (engraved titles shaved at head, some occasional offsetting and pale spotting.) Eighteenth-century mottled calf, laurel-wreath stamped in gilt on upper cover, spine gilt, marbled edges (a bit worn and rubbed, few old repairs).
FIRST EDITION of "one of the sixteenth century's most ambitious and detailed investigations into comparative anatomy" (Norman). A student of Girolamo Fabrici who later became his successor at the University of Padua, Casserio attempted like his teacher to explain human anatomy by comparing each organ to its counterparts in different animals. De vocis... consists of two treatises, the first on the vocal organs and the second on the ear. "The first book, on the vocal apparatus, contains comparative investigations of the vocal organs of the cicada, grasshopper, and similar insects [and of other mammals, birds, and amphibians], as well as the first accurate description of the laryngeal muscles and nerves. The second book, on the structure of the ear, contains the first clear description of the ossicles, comparative studies of the auditory ossicles of various animals, and anatomical descriptions of the inner ear that were far more accurate than any given before, as well as a detailed account of the external ear muscles" (Grolier Medicine, p. 93). His description and illustration of the auditory apparatus of the fish was "all the more remarkable in that, up to this time, no one had believed fishes to possess a sense of hearing" (Norman).
The very fine unsigned anatomical engravings were probably the work of the German painter and engraver Joseph Maurer, who lived in the author's household, according to a passage in chapter 13 of Book I, in order to provide him with anatomical illustrations. "Medical historians rank the accuracy and artistry of the illustrations in this and other works of Casserio in the same category as those of Vesalius, with Casserio setting the standard in copperplates as Vesalius had done in woodcuts" (Heirs of Hippocrates). The striking engraved title (possibly "unique in the history of iconography in its use of dissected putti" -- Grolier Medicine) and the two portraits have been recently attributed to Jacopo Ligozzi, illustrator for the Italian physician and naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi. Choulant-Frank, p.223; Garrison-Morton 286; Grolier Medicine 24; Heirs of Hippocrates 397; NLM/Krivatsy 2199; Norman 410 (variant collation); Waller 1809; Wellcome 1333.