ESTIENNE, Charles (1504-1564). La dissection des parties du corps humain... avec figures et declarations des incisions, composees par Estienne de la Riuiere Chirugien. Paris: Simon de Colines, 1546.
2o (336 x 233 mm). 211 leaves (of 212, lacking final blank). Text in Italic and Roman types. 64 full-page anatomical woodcuts [58 blocks, 6 repeats] of which 39 contain one or two anatomical insets, one signed by S.R. [Stephanus Riverus, or Étienne de la Rivière], 9 by Jean Jollat [6 of them plus one additional block bearing the cutter's Lorraine cross signature]; 100 woodcut text vignettes of individual organs. (Foremargin of title repaired, some shoulder notes shaved, internal repaired tear crossing text on final leaf with a few letters supplied in manuscript facsimile.) Modern red morocco, edges gilt, by A. Lobstein.
FIRST EDITION IN FRENCH OF ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ANATOMICAL WORKS OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY, AND THE FINEST PRINTED MEDICAL BOOK OF THE FRENCH RENAISSANCE, after Coline's original Latin edition of 1545. The illustrations are identical to that edition, with the addition of two new cuts by Jollat on A6r and A7r. The French edition is scarcer than the Latin edition of the previous year.
Charles Estienne, third son of the printer Henri I Estienne, studied botany, horticulture, and classical philology before concentrating exclusively on medicine. From 1544 to 1547 he held the post of lecturer in anatomy at the Faculté de Médecine in Paris; during this same period his stepfather Simon de Colines carried out the printing of both the Latin and French editions of this anatomy, his major scientific work. Estienne was later obliged to give up his medical practice in order to manage the family printing business, but he continued to edit and compile scientific texts in such diverse areas as diet, zoology, philology, and rural economy.
The illustrations include a group of 38 cuts in books II and III in which the anatomical depictions of the internal organs are printed from separate pieces inserted into the larger blocks showing male or female figures. The sensual nature of the poses of the female figures in Book III has led to the speculation that the blocks may have been copied from a series of erotic engravings by Gian Giacomo Caraglio after drawings by Perino del Vaga, while the male figures in Book II, showing corpses reclining against trees and masonry, may be based on a series of unpublished drawings by Giovanni Battista Rosso. The insets are believed to be the work of Etienne de la Rivière. Adams S-1726; Choulant-Frank, pp.152-155; Garrison-Morton 378; Heirs of Hippocrates 256; Mortimer French 213; NLM/Durling 1391; Osler 2541; Renouard Colines, pp. 412-414; Schreiber Estiennes 125; Waller 2819; Wellcome 6076.