Andreas Vesalius

The Disector


Andreas's education start in a Catholic school in Brussels, from 1420 to 1429. He then continued his schooling at the university of Louvain where he studied till 1433, then at the university of Paris till 1536. He received his M.B. from Louvain and his M.D. from the University of Padua, Italy, both in 1537. From 1537 to 1544 he taught surgery and anatomy at Padua.

Andreas's heritage goes way back to when His great-great-grandfather, Peter Witing, was a physician to Emperor Frederick III, then his great-grandfather, Johannes Witing van Wesele, was physician to Frederick and Archduke Maximilian. After that his grandfather, Everart van Wesele, was physician to Maximilian; and his father, Andries van Wesele, was apothecary to Emperor Maximilian I (the former Archduke) and Emperor Charles V.


In 1537 he published his paraphrase of nine books of the Arabic physician Rhazes and in 1539 his first Epistola, usually called "The Venesection Letter." He then showed to the world that the anatomy was wrong writing 7 books on the human structure. Following in his fathers foot steps and ancestors he was later appointed the official physician of the palace of Charles V after the showing of his Fabrica to him. Vesalius inaugurated an important subgenre of medical publications.

Impact on Today

When he stole the a human body from Gibbet in Louvain and dissected it he figured out that the fundamental Galenic presentations of human anatomy were wrong. He found out and later announced that the Galenic Anatomy is the regular anatomy of an animal and not a human. His Fabrica and the hundreds of books that followed it in this sub-genre are renowned not only for their scientific accuracy, but also for their beauty and power as aesthetic objects. He was very much hated because the people back then thought it showed the person very much disrespect and was a crime and should be punished by death.

Interesting Facts

  • At Padua Andreas hired artist to prepare accurate anatomical charts for his students. His first original publication, Tabulae anatomicae sex ("Six anatomical charts") Appeared in 1538.
  • He then quit studying anatomy to become imperial courtier.
  • In 1544 he married Anne van Hamme.
  • He spent his life mostly traveling with the emperor throughout Europe, sometimes as a military surgeon.
  • The famous painter Titan was his #1 illustrator.

Project Sitations

January, Brenden. Science in the Renaissance. New York, London, Hong Kong, Sydney, and Danbury, Connecticut: Franklin Watts, 1972. Print.

Schlager, Lauer, Neil, Josh. "Andreas Vesalius." Science and Its Times. Vol. 3. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Biography in Context. Web. 28 Feb. 2014. <>.

"Vesalius, Andreas." Encyclopedia of Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. <>.