TAGLIACOZZI, GASPARE(1545-1599). De curtorum chirurgia per insitionem. Apud Gasparem Bindonum, juniorem, 1597. 32 cm tall.
Tagliacozzi studied under Girolamo Cardano at the University of Bologna. After graduating, he became a professor of surgery and anatomy at Bologna. This work, “Concerning the surgery of the mutilated by grafting,” is a classic in the history of plastic surgery and is especially noteworthy for its description of rhinoplasty.
Some form of rhinoplasty had been practiced in ancient India and, in the thirteenth century, by a family of itinerant Sicilian surgeons (the Brancas) who kept the operation a family secret. This became known as the “Italian Method.” This method was included in works by Vesalius, but he described it incorrectly. Tagliacozzi learned of it, modified it, and published De curtorum chirurgia per insitionem, describing his successes and failures of his own method in detail.
The volume is divided into two parts: the first, “Theory of the art of plastic surgery,” is about the structure, function, and physiology of the nose; and the second part, “Practice of the art,” describes and illustrates the instruments and operative procedures for restoration of the nose, lip, and ear. Tagliacozzi also fully discussed the complications, such as hemorrhage and gangrene, that often occurred during these operations.
It has 22 full-page woodcut illustrations showing Tagliacozzi’s method and surgical instruments. They are well-executed and illustrate many of the techniques described in the text. The immediate popularity of the work caused it to be pirated by another Venetian printer, Roberto Meietti, who issued it under the same date. This only touches on the interesting life and work of Tagliacozzi. Read more about him here.
The book is in great condition. One leaf is stained and a few others have browned a bit over time, but it is otherwise in excellent shape. The binding consists of a modern vellum pasted over paper boards. And the full-page illustrations are crisp and jump off the page with their detail and fun flourishes. This book was purchased by Dr. John Martin in 1977 and donated to the collection.
We also have an English translation of De curtorum chirurgia per insitionem by way of the 17th-century Scottish anatomist, Alexander Read.
If you are interested in seeing this or other items in the collection, please contact Damien Ihrig at email@example.com or 319-335-9154 to arrange a visit in person or over Zoom.