Paris: Francois Ambroise Didot l'Aine, 1786.
1st Edition. Hardcover. Large Folio. Very Good. Item #003133
Large folio (471 x 333 mm). , 123  pp. of text, including half title, title, dedication leaf to Louis XVI, hand-colored aquatint frontispiece (supplied), accompanied by an engraved explanation leaf. , 1-17 ; , 20-38; , 42-68; , 72-87 ; , 90-111  pp. of plate explanatory text, including 5 divisional titles and 69 plates numbered I-XXXV, consisting of 34 plates engraved with a combination of aquatint, line engraving and stipple-engraving, and printed in colors, 34 accompanying outline plates and a single line-engraved plate (no. XVIII) after Soemmerring's "De basi encephali" (1778). Frontispiece and explanatory leaf bound after dedication. Contemporary half leather over boards, gilt-lettered spine-label, red-dyed edges (rebacked preserving most of original spine, boards rubbed, extremities worn and partially chipped). Text and plates with minor occasional spotting and very light browning, one plate (IX) heavily browned, frontispiece slightly shaved at fore-edge. Provenance: G. S. Dieterici (doctor in medicine and surgery; bookplate); Dr A. Asenjo (ownership inscription dated 1947). A very good copy, collated complete. ----
Norman 2150; Waller 9953; Garrison-Morton 401.2; Brunet V, 1176; Heirs of Hippocrates 1073. - FIRST EDITION of "the most accurate neuroanatomical work produced before the advent of microscopic staining techniques" (Garrison-Morton). Vicq d'Azyr, permanent secretary to the Societe Royale de Medecine and personal physician to Marie-Antoinette, was a skilled comparative anatomist, eminent veterinarian, and prolific writer of medical articles and treatises, those on comparative anatomy and public health being of the most lasting importance. The interest of the present work, projected as a multi-volume study of human anatomy and physiology but never finished, lies in its intelligent utilization of the new print-making technique of aquatint for the purpose of accurate anatomical illustration. The striking illustrations "created a sensation at the time," according to Brunet. Vicq d'Azyr's principal original contributions to the understanding of human anatomy lay in his studies of the brain, the subject of this first volume. He developed a technique of brain dissection using the hardening effect of alcohol, which avoided damage to the delicate surfaces (fixatives such as formalin having not yet been developed). "Like Steno before him, Vicq d'Azyr attached great importance to the structure of the fibers in the white matter of the brain... He also described the mammillothalamic bundle and Reil's ribbon. Rejecting the views of Malpighi and Vieussens, who attributed no functional importance to the cerebral cortex, Vicq d'Azyr attempted to systematize its complex morphology. In particular he isolated the convolution of the corpus callosum, the cuneus, and the sulcus separating the frontal lobe from the parietal, later described by Rolando (1829)" (DSB). One of his principal concerns was the absence of a standard nomenclature for the cerebral convolutions, a problem that he attempted to remedy in the present work, which contains the entire corpus of his work on the brain. Vicq d'Azyr had commenced publication of the work in parts, undoubtedly at his own expense. The Revolution prevented its completion, and, since the instructions for binding the work were probably never issued, copies differ in the order in which they are bound. COMPLETE COPIES LIKE THIS ARE RARE. - Visit our website for additional images and information.
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