Untitled by Zachary Belcher
Serge Gay Jr
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From Anatomia hvmani corporis by Govard Bidloo
CASSERIO, Giulio (ca. 1552-1616). De vocis auditisque organis historia anatomica. Ferrara: Victorius Baldinus, 1601 (Part II: 1600).
2 parts in one, 2o (400 x 262 mm). Engraved title, 2 engraved portraits (one of the dedicatee Ranuccio Farnese, Duke of Parma, and of the author), title and portraits within oval medallions set within elaborate allegorical borders, 34 full-page anatomical engravings of which 22 of the vocal organs and 12 plates of the auditory organs, woodcut initials, head- and tail-pieces. (Engraved title and portraits just shaved slightly along lower fore-margin, leaf 2Q1 misbound after 2Q3, some very minor toning or soiling.) Contemporary Italian limp vellum; cloth folding box . Provenance: Acquired from H.P. Kraus, 1963.
FIRST EDITION OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK EVER PUBLISHED ON THE COMPARATIVE ANATOMY OF THE EAR AND THROAT. The dramatic baroque title-page and the portrait of the Duke of Parma, to whom Casserio dedicated the work, and the portrait of Casserio have been attributed to the Italian Mannerist painter, Jacopo Ligozzi (1547-1627), who specialized in portraits and animal subjects. The drawing for the title-page is preserved in a collection of about 300 sheets in the Ufizzi attributed to Ligozzi. Among his prolific works, Ligozzi also illustrated specimens for the Bolognese naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi. Ligozzi’s title-page, one of the most dramatic of the baroque period, depicts whole or partial skeletons of several of the animals discussed in the book, including the skulls of the ox, dog, and deer, a tailless monkey, and several ornithological specimens. At the top of the baroque collage is a cicada, whose characteristic sound Casserio also discusses. More imaginative are the skeletons at the lower right and left of two putti with wings, and in the upper left and right corners human skeletons embracing. None of the other 34 full-page engravings of comparative anatomy are signed, but on the basis of a passage in Casserio’s treatise on the ear cited in Choulant-Frank the drawings were created by the German painter Josias Mauer who lived in Casserio’s home for the purpose of “painting anatomic illustrations.”
Casserio began his career as the manservant of Girolamo Fabrici (Fabricius ab Aquapendente), who trained him in the art of dissection and encouraged him to pursue his medical studies. Upon Fabrici’s retirement in 1608 Casserio 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 and detailed 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 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 chapter 20 he described and illustrated laryngotomy, specifying its importance in acute forms of glottal occlusion. In his second book on the throat Casserio dealed with phonation, the nature of sound, the history of concepts regarding the nature of the voice, and a comparative examination of the mechanism of phonation.
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 that fishes possess a sense of hearing. Cazort, “On dissected putti and combustible chameleons,” Print Collector’s Newsletter 17 (1987), pp. 197-201. Cazort, Kornell, Roberts, The Ingenious Machine of Nature; Four Centuries of Art and Anatomy(1996), pp. 161-164; Choulant-Frank p. 223; Garrison-Morton 286; Grolier Medicine 24; Heirs of Hippocrates397; NLM/Krivatsy 2199; Norman 410; Waller 1809; Wellcome 1333. A VERY TALL FRESH COPY IN ORIGINAL BINDING.