A monument within which is suspended the flayed skin of a man, with a canal system as an allegory of the circulation of blood, and other allegories of anatomy. Engraving, 1651.
- Highmore, Nathaniel, 1613-1685.
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About this work
Dedicated to William Harvey (1578-1657), N. Highmore's Corporis humani disquisitio of 1651, was one of the first anatomy books to accept his theory of circulation of blood, an allegory of which is illustrated by the pump supplying a canal system that is visible through the arch of the engraved frontispiece
At the top of the monument, left, a lecture in an anatomy theatre; centre, the lecturer kneels before a queen personifying anatomy, who is crowned and holds a femur as her sceptre in her right hand and a skull in place of an orb in her left hand. Top right, a philological anatomist mulls over a volume of Aristotle's De partibus animalium
In the frontal niches of the level below stand Hippocrates and Galen, each taking the pulse of the flayed skin, on which the title of the book is engraved. The arms of the flayed skin are engraved with aphorisms declaring the value of anatomy for medicine. Hippocrates is dressed as an ancient, while Galen, holding a scroll of his book De usu partium, is dressed in the ermine robes of a university doctor. In the two inside niches are a skeleton on the left and a muscle figure on the right
On the base, on the left is an illustration of a camera obscura with the resulting image of a tree on the facing wall re-inverted, and on the right is a portrait of Nathaniel Highmore. On the sides of the niches are the shield of Trinity College Oxford (left) and a shield including a crossbow (right: the shield of the Highmore family, according to Ekholm, op. cit.)