Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, 2014

BERNHARD SIEGFRIED ALBINUS (1697-1770). Tabulae sceleti et musculorum corporis humani. Leiden:  1747

This work is perhaps the most monumental and finest anatomical atlas ever published. The plates, although probably derived from Vesalius, were drawn with painstaking accuracy by Wandelaer and are dated between 1739 and 1747. Albinus described in his preface the methods used in the drawing of the skeletons and “muscle men” to achieve symmetry and beauty in each figure. All of the skeletons and “muscle men” have lush background scenes taken from nature which were chosen to animate the figures and emphasize the harmonious and natural beauty of the human body. The first three plates of the skeleton are each accompanied by outline plates. The following nine plates of the “muscle men” also have an additional outline plate. The final sixteen plates represent individual muscles and parts of muscles and each of the many figures is supplied with an outline drawing unless the letters are engraved directly on the finished figures.

Albinus-832-tab. IV-001