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REMMELIN, Johann (1583-1632)

Catoptrum microcosmicum suis ære incisis visionibus splendens, cum historia, & pinace, de novo prodit.
Ulmo, Iohannis Görlin, 1660.

This 1660 Latin edition (Ulm, Johann Görlin) also exists with another imprint (Frankfurt am Main, A. Hummen), both of which, as well as the 1639 Ulm edition, seem to be exactly the same as the first authorised edition of 1619, with the same mispagination of page 25. Only the name of the publisher, date and place of publication have been changed on the engraved title. The three plates, without text, were already issued in 1613 by some of Remmelin’s friends, to whom he had shown the manuscript. This was done without Remmelin’s knowledge. The plates were engraved by the famous Lucas Kilian (1579-1637) after Remmelin’s drawings and printed by Stephan Michelspacher. The magnificent engraved title, full of allegorical figures and medical instruments, is unsigned. This is the first anatomical atlas to fully use the flap method or “dissected” plates to demonstrate the anatomy of the human body. The idea had been employed already in the “fugitive sheets” of the early sixteenth century and also by Vesalius in his Epitome of 1543 and by Bartisch in his Augendienst of 1583, but the method reached its apogee with Remmelin. The work became very popular. It was translated into German, French, English, and Dutch, and plagiarized and published in numerous editions with various titles. The first plate depicts a man and a woman surrounded by figures of sense organs, the heart, uterus, and Divinity, all with flaps; the second plate depicts the internal organs of a man, and the third that of a woman, the latter to a depth of more than 25 superimposed flaps. The details to be cut out were printed on separate plates, but it seems that this has been done and the flaps mounted in all copies, as these plates are rarely found. This makes it also hard to collate if copies are fully complete with all flaps present. Remmelin was born in Ulm, where he held the post of town physician and later held a similar appointment in Augsburg. According to his contemporaries, he was a celebrated anatomist and also skilled in mathematics.

Collation: Consists of 13 leaves sign. A-N paginated 1-25 (mispaginated 27) including engraved title. Four extra columns of text printed on a foldout half leaf mounted to the margin of leaf “D”. With three engraved plates mounted on pages 9, 15 and 21, containing more than one hundred movable flaps with anatomical details, some double-sided. Some outer margins restored with some loss of text.

Binding: Bound by Gustaf Hedberg in brown half calf with marbled boards, red spine label and fine marbled endpapers.

References: Choulant / Frank pp 232-234; Russell, Bibliography of Johann Remmelin, p. 63; Heirs of Hippocrates 456; Hagelin, Rare and Important Medical Books in SLS, pp 58-59 (Ulm edition, 1660). SLS 500 (Ulm edition 1660). Waller 7880-7889 ( 10 different editions, including the extremely rare first edition 1613).

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