Human Anatomy The Definitive Visual Guide PDF
37.55 MB PDF
Anatomy is a very visual subject, and illustrated anatomy books have been around for centuries. In the same way that a map must represent the physical features of a landscape, anatomical illustrations must convey the detailed layout of the human body. The mapmaker is concerned with the topography of a landscape, while the anatomist focuses on the topography of the body. The maps—whether of landscapes or the body—are collected into books known as atlases. The first anatomical atlases appeared in the Renaissance period, but students of anatomy today still rely heavily on visual media. Plenty of students still use atlases, alongside electronic resources.
Anatomical depictions have changed through time, reflecting the development of anatomical knowledge, changing styles and taste, and the constraints of different media. One of the earliest and most well-known atlases is Andreas Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica (On the structure of the human body), published in 1543. The anatomical illustrations in this book took the form of a series of posed, dissected figures standing against a landscape. It was a book intended not just for medical students, but for a general readership. The heavy use of images to convey information made sense for this visual subject, and also helped to make anatomy accessible.
The late seventeenth century saw a striking change in anatomical depictions. Flayed figures, gracefully arranged against landscapes, gave way to brutally realistic illustrations of cadaveric specimens in the dissection room. The connection between anatomy and death was impossible to ignore in these pictures. The style of anatomy illustration has also been influenced by the methods available to capture and print images. As lithography replaced woodcut printing, it was possible to render anatomy in finer detail. Anatomical illustrators leaped on the potential offered by color printing, using different colors to pick out arteries, veins, and nerves. More recently, the advent of photography meant that anatomy could be captured more objectively. It would be reasonable to suppose that photography would offer the best solution to the challenges facing the medical illustrator, but the task requires more than objectivity and fidelity. Images need to be uncluttered, and sometimes a simple line drawing can convey information better than a photograph of an actual dissection. The challenge facing the medical illustrator has always centered on what to keep in and what to leave out.
The development of medical imaging, including the use of X-rays, ultrasound, and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), has had a huge impact on medicine, and has also had a profound effect on the way we visualize and conceptualize the body. Some anatomy atlases are still based on photographic or drawn representations of dissected, cadaveric specimens, and these have their place. But a new style has emerged, heavily influenced by medical imaging, featuring living anatomy. The supernatural, reanimated skeletons and musclemen of the Renaissance anatomy atlases, and the later, somewhat brutal illustrations of dissected specimens, have been replaced with representations of the inner structure of a living woman or man.
Historically, and by necessity, anatomy has been a morbid subject. The general reader may understandably have been put off by opening an atlas to be confronted with images of dead flesh, slightly shrunken eyeballs resting in dissected sockets, and dead guts spilling out of opened abdomens. But the depiction of living anatomy, informed by medical imaging techniques, reveals anatomy in all its glory, without the gore.
The illustrations in this atlas are all about living anatomy. Most of the images in this book are founded on a 3-D reconstruction of the anatomy of a whole body, drawn up in digital media and based on scans. We have grappled with the challenge of what to keep in and what to leave out. It’s overwhelming to see all the elements at the same time, so the anatomy of this idealized living human is stripped down, revealing the bones, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and organs of the body in turn. The result is, I hope, an anatomy atlas that will be useful to any student of anatomy as well as appealing to anyone with an interest in the structure of the human body.
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human anatomy the definitive visual guide pdf
human anatomy the definitive visual guide by alice roberts
human anatomy the definitive visual guide alice roberts
the human anatomy the definitive visual guide