Fasciculo di medicina

Editor: Possibly Johannes de Ketham (German, active 15th century)

Editor: Possibly Sebastiano Manili (Italian, born Rome, active Venice 1490s)

Publisher: Johannes and Gregorius de Gregoriis (Italian, active Venice, ca. 1480–ca. 1515)

Published in: Venice

Date: February 5, 1493 [modern style, 1494]

Medium: Woodcut

Dimensions: Overall: 12 7/16 x 8 7/16 x 9/16 in. (31.6 x 21.5 x 1.5 cm)

Classification: Books

Credit Line: Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1938

Accession Number: 38.52


This book, a compendium of medical knowledge associated with the obscure author Johannes de Ketham, combines ancient and medieval medical traditions with Renaissance innovations. The original Latin text was printed in Venice in 1491 with six schematic illustrations derived from centuries-old conventions. This volume, the Italian translation, was published three years later with four additional woodblock plates that reflect the influence of Giovanni Bellini and Andrea Mantegna who were among the most original artists of the period.
The most famous of the added illustrations (colored in the Museum's copy), depicts a dissection carried out in the contemporary manner. The corpse is laid out on a trestle table disposed across the picture space, and the dissector leans over it with a huge knife; his short garment differentiates him from the other men present, who wear august robes and stand upright. The lecturer presides serenely over the scene from a pulpitlike booth above, looking out at the viewer rather than at the corpse.