The frontispiece of the De Humani Corporis Fabrica, painted by a pupil of Titian, shows a neoclassical amphitheater in which the scene is represented of an autopsy performed by Andreas Vesalius, just appointed as Professor of Anatomy at the University of Padua. The body on which Vesalius is carrying out the anatomical investigation is that of a woman executed for committing a crime and who had attempted to escape execution by claiming to be pregnant. The autopsy therefore had the purpose of verifying the veracity of her statements, but also the professionalism of the midwife who, expressing her negative opinion, had determined the execution of the sentence. Many figures are around to assist, differently motivated, each representing a quite singular aspect. Under the sector table, two menials (cerusics) are arguing with each other to maintain a role that, with the advent of Vesalius, will no longer be up to them but to the medical sector.
Corresponding Author: MENEGHINI A.|