UMC Links

16th Century Medical Pioneer Celebrated at the U’s Library

Book title: De humani corporis fabrica (1555)

Sept. 10, 2014 – In this day of amazing medical technologies, it’s hard to imagine what medical science looked like 500 years ago. But when one looks at Andreas Vesalius’ book “De Humani Corporis Fabrica” (Fabric of the Human Body) first published in 1543, it is difficult to imagine where we’d be without the contributions of this 16th century anatomist and physician. The book is part of a building-wide exhibition at the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah.

To honor the tremendous contributions of Vesalius (1514-1564) to education, anatomy and book design, the Marriott Library, in partnership with the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, is hosting the exhibition “Vesalius: Celebrating 500 Years of Innovation.” A convocation on Sept. 18, 2014—with a lecture by U anatomy professor Mark Nielsen—will provide additional context and depth to the subject.

“We’re so fortunate to have these incredible works of art— and science— right here in Utah, and to be able to share them with our students and the community,” comments Alfred Mowdood, head of research and information services at the Marriott Library. “It has been an incredible opportunity for us to highlight our stellar Rare Books collection, our exhibition spaces and to showcase the great work of every department within the Library in making this happen.”

The exhibition spans five floors and includes a special rare books exhibition entitled “Down to the Bones,”located on level 4. Showcased are two editions of Vesalius’ famous “De Humani Corporis Fabrica” from1543 and 1557. Additional authors represented from the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries include William Harvey, a British physician who discovered how blood was circulated throughout the body, Roman architect and engineer Marcus Vitruvius and Leonardo da Vinci. The 1555 edition of “De Humani Corporis Fabrica” has been digitized and is accessible to all here.

The Marriott Library welcomes the community to experience these rare books, prints, anatomical models and facsimile plates and to attend the lecture. More information is available online here.


Professor Mark Nielsen: “Renaissance Man: The Art and Science of Andreas Vesalius”
Sept. 18, 2014
J. Willard Marriott Library Gould Auditorium, level 1
5:30 p.m. Exhibition Tour (optional)
6:30 p.m. Lecture
7:30 p.m. Reception in Special Collections, level 4


“Vesalius: Celebrating 500 Years of Innovation”
Through Oct. 3, 2014
J. Willard Marriott Library, levels 1 – 4
Parking: Park in the visitor lot west of the library, near the bookstore