Publisher Information: Ferrara: Baldino, 1600-1601.
Beautifully Illustrated Classic of Comparative Anatomy
Casserio, Guilio (1552-1616). De vocis auditusque organis historia anatomica. Folio. 2 parts in 1 vol. , 191, 126, pp. Fine and unusual engraved titlepage, portraits of Casserio and of the Duke of Parma, and 33 (of 34) exquisite anatomical plates, paginated in the text. Our copy is one of those printed with a blank verso 2M3 in part 2 instead of plate XII, considered by researchers to be an earlier issue; a facsimile of this plate is tipped in for continuity. [Ferrara: Victorio Baldino, 1600-1601.] 386 x 264 mm. Vellum c. 1601, spine and margin of back cover repaired, light wear. A little light browning and offsetting, occasional faint dampstains, otherwise a very good copy.
First Edition. Casserio was a student of Fabrici, and succeeded him in the chair of anatomy at the University of Padua. Like Fabrici, Casserio attempted to explain human anatomy by reference to the lower animals, and his De vocis, containing the first comparative studies of the vocal and auditory organs, represents one of the sixteenth century’s most ambitious investigations in comparative anatomy. The work is divided into two treatises, on the anatomy of the larynx and on that of the ear. In the first, Casserio compared the human vocal apparatus to those of other mammals, birds, amphibians and even insects. He recognized the larynx to be the principal organ of voice, gave the first precise description of the cricoid-thyroid muscles and accurately depicted the superior and inferior laryngeal nerves, which he correctly assumed to originate from cranial nerves. He also was the first to understand the complex sound-producing organs on the abdomen of the cicada. In the second treatise, Casserio provided the first detailed comparative account of the auditory ossicles, the first adequate description of the mammalian osseous labyrinth, and the first representation of the ear of the fish—this last all the more remarkable in that, up to this time, no one had believed fishes to possess a sense of hearing.
None of De vocis’s full-page engravings, including the title engraving and portraits, are signed. The drawings for them have generally been attributed to the German painter and etcher Joseph Maurer, on the basis of a passage (cited in Choulant) in the treatise on the ear; however, recent research indicates that the engraved title and two portraits are most likely the work of Jacopo Ligozzi (1547-1626), who also illustrated specimens for the Bolognese naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi. In accuracy and artistry, the anatomical illustrations rank with the woodcuts of Vesalius, and, like the Vesalian illustrations, they provided a model and a standard for subsequent draftsmen. Choulant/Frank 223-24. Garrison-Morton 286 & 1540. Grolier Club, 100 Books Famous in Medicine 24. Hoffer, Baroque Book Illustration (1970) 62. Cole, History of Comparative Anatomy (1944), pp. 112-25, reproducing 7 plates. Norman 410.Book Id: 41482