Welcome to the History of the Body ProjectThis project offers a brief itinerary through western understanding of the human body from the time of Hippocrates and Galen to the era of Andreas Vesalius and William Harvey.


The History of the Body Project combines words and images of the human body that span two thousand years of knowledge. It covers the period when our primary understanding of the body came from external and superficial surgical knowledge, animal dissections, and philosophical discussions of the nature of anatomy and physiology.  It ends in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when increased dissections in hospitals and universities, battlefield practice of surgery, and a more experimental scientific culture allowed physicians and surgeons to revise earlier knowledge with a new kind of empiricism.


In touring these early bodies, ask yourself how ideas solidified, how they became uncertain (or more certain), and when they changed.

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End of Body Site

Paula Findlen, 2000