Although Blasius was a practicing physician in Amsterdam, his real interest lay in anatomy and, in particular, comparative anatomy. He worked closely with philosophers and scientists such as John Locke, Jan Swammerdam, and Niels Stensen to promote the study of anatomy and to widen the availability of both animal and human remains for closer study. Balsius’ 1681 work is his most ambitious project and, according to historian Francis J. Cole, is the “first comprehensive manual of comparative anatomy based on the original researches of a working anatomist…” While the author provides meticulously detailed descriptions of 119 species, it is the eye-catching images that capture the reader’s attention.
Gerardus Blasius (1626?-1692?). Anatome animalium. Amsterdam, 1681.