VESALIUS, ANDREAS. De humani corporis libri septem. Basel: Joannes Oporinus August 1555.
Folio, 433 x 283mm. (17 1/16 x 11 1/8in.), SIXTEENTH-CENTURY DATED WITTENBERG BINDING of white pigskin over wooden boards, tooled in blind to a panel design with border rolls depicting foliage, an inner border of small repeated portrait stamps [rolls: Haebler I, p. 245, M.K.5. 167 x 11 (sic.) and Haebler I, p. 247, M.K.2. 151 x 9mm., cf. Pl. I, 42]; and a center panel (90 x 53mm.) with on the upper cover a portrait of Charles V [Haebler I, p. 245, M.K. IV] and on the lower cover a portrait of Johann Friedrich I, Elector of Saxony[Haebler I, p. 245, M.K. II], each panel with engraver's monogram MV (either Matthais Urban of Martin Unger); above the upper cover panel are the initials I.M.M. and below it the date 1574; spine with six double bands, fore-edge sprinkled red with a stencil design of a crowned shield (this sprinkling, probably executed in the eighteenth century, has left small residues of red pigment on the leather); extremities worn, lacks clasps. [Cf. Foot/Henry Davis II 346 and Goldschmidt Gothic and Renaissance 232 for other bindings with engraver's monogram MV, the former with similar panel portraits and variant line division in the three-line caption]. Leaf ee2 with three small stains, some very minor marginal browning and dust staining.
Second folio edition (preceded by the small and unillustrated 1552 Lyons piracy), pictorial woodcut title showing Vesalius dissecting a female in a theater before an enthralled throng, woodcut portrait of Vesalius on a6v, folding woodcut diagram of the circulatory system (p. 505), an unpaginated leaf signed X2 with eight woodcut anatomical details intended to be cut out and superimposed on this woodcut illustration, folding woodcut diagram of the nervous system (pp. 553, 554), in all a series of over 200 woodcut anatomical illustrations, including 21 full-page and 2 double-page figural woodcuts showing the skeletal, muscular, vascular and nervous systems; 1 fourteen-line, 7 twelve-line, 182 seven-line and 22 four-line historiated initials; all of the illustrations after an unknown artist probably from the Circle of Tiziano Vecellio.
This edition was printed on heavier paper and in larger type (49 lines instead of 57 lines per page) than the first folio. The celebrated title woodcut is slightly altered and the initial letters recut. The printer Oporinus lost money on both editions.
Cushing Vesalius VI.A.--3; Garrison and Morton 377; Heirs of Hippocrates 173; NLM/Durling 4577; Waller 9901.
Provenance: I.M.M. 1574 (binding); Bibliotheca Gerhardina (eithteenth-century bookplate); Juan Carlos Ahumada, bookplate; the present owner.