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todas as histórias

A ilustração de Anatomia


A história do desenho em Anatomia Humana tem marcos fundadores no século 16 com as obras de Leonardo da Vinci e de Andreas Vesalius e seu De Humani Corporis Fabrica.

The history of drawings in Medicine and Human Anatomy begins with Leonardo da Vinci and his drawings published around 1510. Then, Jacopo Berengario da Carpi (1460-1530) published Commentaria Super Anatomia Mundini, in 1522, and Andreas Vesalius published De Humani Corporis Fabrica, in 1543, with illustrations by Jan Stephen van Calcar.

According to Rifkin, Ackerman and Folkenberg, the illustrations in Vesalius’ book were revolutionary: the human body had never been drawn with that level of scientific clarity and artistic quality before, which was enhanced by the quality of the carving and the print. “The result was the most accurate, detailed and solid set of images of the human body ever produced at the time and for some time after”. The “expression” of the skeletons made suffering and mortality real and human, and they are there to contribute to Medicine. [1]

Friedman and Friedland said, “a book of Medicine had never had such height nor width. A book of Medicine had never presented illustrations with similar artistic beauty and anatomical precision. And a book of Medicine had never been published before (nor thereafter) with such refined typography”. [2]

The transfer of knowledge by means of illustrations, and the not so obvious idea that an illustration could be informative, was one of Vesalius’ most expressive contributions to Anatomy, according to Eduardo Kickhöfel. “In Vesalius’ time, a visual culture was in its inception, and was related to the discovery of illustration techniques developed in the studios of Renaissance artists and the intense publishing activity going on at the time, which gradually discovered the ‘power of illustrations’”. [3]

Up until the 16th Century, books on Anatomy were poorly illustrated. For approximately 14 centuries, the knowledge of Anatomy was based on the writings by Roman physician and surgeon Claudius Galeno (150-200 A.D.), who believed that figures “distorted” the text and, for this reason, his books are descriptive and not illustrated.

The transition into the Renaissance provided the combination of new humanistic concepts and developments in Medicine, Science and Art, but most of all, a shift in the understanding of man’s place in Nature and in the world. It was in the Renaissance that the use of illustrations in Medicine was established, on the one hand, based on a new understanding of the human body that Medieval imaginary did not envisage, quite the contrary, banned it; and on the other hand, the unprecedented association between Science and Art, which made the illustration an essential part of scientific information.

During the 17th and 18th Centuries, illustrations had different schools and followed the general trends and esthetics of each period. The work by Henry Gray (1827-1861) and the drawings by Henry Vandyke Carter (1831-1897) in the book Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical (London, 1858) can be considered a milestone in the standard of illustrations in the second half of the 19th Century. According to Rifkin, Ackerman and Folkenberg, this book’s illustrations became a “tour de force” and a reference for similar works: well organized, beautifully drawn, in clear and portable proportions.

[1] Rifkin, Benjamin A., Ackerman, J. Michael e Folkenberg, Judith. Human Anatomy. A Visual History from the Renaissance to the Digital Age. New York, Abrams, 2006, p.16.
[2] Friedman, Meyer e Friedland, Gerald. As dez maiores descobertas da medicina. São Paulo, Companhia das Letras, 2008, pp. 27 e 30.
[3] Kickhöfel, Eduardo H. P. “A lição de anatomia de Andreas Vesalius e a ciência moderna”, scientiæzudia, Vol. 1, n. 3, 2003.

Lilly Ebstein Lowenstein (1897-1966) viveu entre a ciência e a arte, desenhando e realizando fotografias nos campos da medicina e da zoologia. Em seu trabalho, Lilly conjugava o conhecimento técnico da fotografia e do desenho, o estudo das ciências e um notável talento estético. Nascida na Alemanha, ela estudou na Escola Lette-Verein em Berlim entre 1911 e 1914. Em 1925 imigrou com o marido e dois filhos para São Paulo. Em 1926, tornou-se desenhista e fotomicrógrafa da Seção de Desenho e Fotografia na Faculdade de Medicina (USP, a partir de 1934), da qual seria chefe por trinta anos a partir 1932. Entre 1930 e 1935 Lilly foi colaboradora do Instituto Biológico de Defesa Agrícola e Animal, principalmente da sua Seção de Ornitopatologia. Uma vida com arte dedicada à pesquisa e difusão da ciência.