Andreas Vesalius (born Andries van Wesel) was a 16th-century physician from Flanders who gained worldwide fame as one of the founders of modern human anatomy. He is the author of what is commonly known the most influential book on human anatomy.
Vesalius attended the medical school of the University of Paris, where he learned how to dissect animals and human cadavers. He completed his studies at the Katholieke Universiteit van Leuven (KU Leuven) and was offered the chair of surgery and anatomy at the University of Padua, Italy on the day of his graduation. He also guest lectured at the University of Bologna and the University of Pisa. Vesalius later became imperial physician at the court of Emperor Charles V after publishing his great work.
In 1543, Vesalius wrote the first complete textbook on human anatomy, ‘De humani corporis fabrica libri septem’. This revolutionary seven-volume work features detailed depictions of the human skeleton, muscles, veins and arteries, nervous system, major organs, heart and lungs and the brain. The ‘Fabrica’ is considered a masterpiece.
The work of Vesalius refuted some of the prevailing ideas about anatomy, giving anatomy a new language. Thanks to his work, practitioners gained more detailed knowledge of the human body. By introducing human dissections into medical training, Vesalius helped transform medicine into a scientific discipline. His work became the foundation of a growing European anatomical literature base.