In Brussels, Belgium, on December 31, 1514, Andreas Vesalius was born. Later, the city would join the Holy Roman Empire. Today, Belgium’s capital is located there. Vesalius was one of a family of four kids. Andries van Wesele, his father, served as Margaret of Austria’s personal pharmacist. Isabel Crabbe, his mother, is a stay-at-home mom.
At the Catholic Brothers Joint School of Life in Brussels, Vesalius began attending school at the age of six. He picked up Latin, arithmetic, and other languages there. The family library was used extensively by the young Vesalius, who was encouraged to read and learn constantly. Vesalius began attending Louvian University, 30 kilometers east of Brussels, when he was 15 years old. His parents were thrilled about this. He was unable to study during the prohibition against married people attending universities during his father’s time. Vesalius focused on learning Latin and art. He also studied Greek and Hebrew. He was admitted to the prestigious medical school in Paris after completing his studies at the art school in 1532. In 1533, Vesalius enrolled in medical school.
He devoted his academic career to studying Galen’s ideas. The teachings of Galen were taken as absolute, unattainable truth. Galen made the majority of his anatomical observations using dissections of monkeys because it was against the law to dissect humans at the time. Anatomy lessons for Vesalius were given by Johann Guinter von Andernach. Galen’s texts were written in Ancient Greek, and Guinter had developed into a proficient Latin translator. He shared Galen’s belief that learning about anatomy best comes from one’s own experiences and observations. Most people were dissected merely to demonstrate to students the veracity of everything Hippocrates and Galen wrote. Since there could be no errors in the ancient texts, students were not permitted to discuss the dissection or ask questions. Instead of anatomical science, academic discussions focused on whether translations of ancient artifacts were accurate. Guinter von Andernach back then permitted his students to conduct their own dissections.
Guinter was so impressed with Vesalius’ skills that he asked him to collaborate with him on Institutiones anatomicae, a Galenic anatomy book. In 1536, the book was published. The skills of his 21-year-old student astounded Guinter. In 1536, Vesalius was compelled to flee Paris due to the outbreak of war between France and the Holy Roman Empire. He came back to Louvian University to finish his medical coursework. He knew anatomy like the back of his hand. He conducted his first autopsy on a woman’s body during this time. Despite being aware of his growing expertise, he chose human anatomy as his subject. He understood that he had learned everything he could from the classical writings.
It was now necessary to break down the knowledge barriers that the Hippocrates and Galen-using medical professors of antiquity had erected. He required cadavers for dissection and bone examination in order to accomplish this. A friend discovered an executed cadaver in a prison shortly after arriving back in Louvian. This was a wonderful chance to learn and conduct research. Vesalius examined the corpse that evening. He was appointed Louvian’s anatomist instructor and performed dissections for the other students. He received his medical bachelor’s degree in 1537 at the age of 22. Vesalius desired a career in medicine. He was admitted and enrolled at the prestigious University of Padua in northern Italy. Vesalius’ exceptional academic abilities were recognized by his Padua professors right away. At the age of 23, Vesalius received his doctorate. Vesalius was selected as a professor of anatomy and surgery by the senior scholars at Padua.
Vesalius observed that in order for his students to understand anatomy, they required visual aids and illustrations. He developed illustrative scenes and diagrams to go along with his dissections. These anatomical diagrams were created during his first ring dissection in Padua. The liver, venous system, arterial system, and skeleton were all depicted in the images. The Structure of the Human Body was an anatomical textbook that Vesalius started creating in 1540. One of his greatest accomplishments has been this. With approval from the University of Padua, Vesalius traveled to Basel, Switzerland, in 1543 to finish the book and prepare it for publication. It was a 700-page, seven-volume work. Only this anatomy book had more than 270 illustrations. The most well-known medical paintings in history are those ones.
The book actually marked a turning point in both the history of science and the history of art. The name of the artist (or artists) who collaborated with Vesalius is regrettably unknown. Vesalius was chosen to serve as the imperial house’s physician. He left his position as a professor in Padua and started a medical practice in the empire. He was expected to participate in the imperial army as an imperial physician. He was assigned to the front lines as a surgeon when the conflict started. He initially found it difficult to work on living patients because he was used to the decay of dead bodies. His imperial responsibilities included inspecting the bodies of wealthy nobles who died in combat. He could then take notes and make observations by studying anatomy more. Midway through 1544, peace was declared, and Vesalius later returned to the imperial court in a calm setting.
Physicians all over Europe became familiar with Vesalius. He was accepted as superior by other doctors despite their constant demands for information and sharing from him.
He treated Philip, the son of Emperor Charles V, as a physician in 1556. The King gave his physician a life pension in appreciation for his loyal service to the 41-year-old Vesalius and bestowed upon him the aristocratic title of Honorable Palentine.
Vesalius persisted in his work for King Philip, his son and the heir apparent to Charles. When his ship arrived at the port on the Greek island of Zakynthos on the way back from Jerusalem, where he had traveled there on a pilgrimage, Vesalius fell very ill.
At the age of 49, Andreas Vesalius passed away on a Greek island on October 15 1564,