Human Anatomy The Definitive Visual Guide PDF Free Download
Anatomy is a very visual subject, and illustrated anatomy books have been around for centuries. In the same way that a map must represent the physical features of a landscape, anatomical illustrations must convey the detailed layout of the human body. The mapmaker is concerned with the topography of a landscape, while the anatomist focuses on the topography of the body. The maps—whether of landscapes or the body—are collected into books known as atlases. The first anatomical atlases appeared in the Renaissance period, but students of anatomy today still rely heavily on visual media. Plenty of students still use atlases, alongside electronic resources. Anatomical depictions have changed through time, reflecting the development of anatomical knowledge, changing styles and taste, and the constraints of different media. One of the earliest and most well-known atlases is Andreas Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica (On the structure of the human body), published in 1543. The anatomical illustrations in this book took the form of a series of posed, dissected figures standing against a landscape. It was a book intended not just for medical students, but for a general readership. The heavy use of images to convey information made sense for this visual subject, and also helped to make anatomy accessible. The late seventeenth century saw a striking change in anatomical depictions. Flayed figures, gracefully arranged against landscapes, gave way to brutally realistic illustrations of cadaveric specimens in the dissection room. The connection between anatomy and death was impossible to ignore in these pictures. The style of anatomy illustration has also been influenced by the methods available to capture and print images. As lithography replaced woodcut printing, it was possible to render anatomy in finer detail. Anatomical illustrators leaped on the potential offered by color printing, using different colors to pick out arteries, veins, and nerves. More recently, the advent of photography meant that anatomy could be captured more objectively. It would be reasonable to suppose that photography would offer the best solution to the challenges facing the medical illustrator, but the task requires more than objectivity and fidelity. Images need to be uncluttered, and sometimes a simple line drawing can convey information better than a photograph of an actual dissection. The challenge facing the medical illustrator has always centered on what to keep in and what to leave out.
Hardcover: 256 pages
(April 21, 2014)
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