Monday, May 25, 2009

Muscles of the Human Body

One of sixteen plates of 'Nouvelles tables anatomiques' or 'New Anatomical Tables'. Each plate was drawn by Amé Bourdon (1683-1706), a French physician and anatomist, and engraved by Daniel Le Bossu. From The

The double folio was published in 1678. It consists of 16 plates which can be combined to form a complete human figure. This example illustrates 2 combined plates.

Another example from the ScienceMuseum: Print showing adult and child skeletons, Paris, France, 1678.

This description of Bourdon's work comes from The History and bibliography of anatomic illustration in its relation to anatomic science and the graphic arts
By Ludwig Choulant, Mortimer Frank, Fielding Hudson Garrison, Edward Clark Streeter
Published by The University of Chicago press, 1852:
Ame Bourdon was born in Cambrai in 1638, became a physician there, and died on December 21, 1706. He published:
Ncuvelles Tables Anatomiques Ou sont représentees au naturel toutes les parties du Corps humain, toutes les nouvelles decouvertes, le cours de toutes les humeurs, etc. On y a joint un petit liure, qui en fait la description et en explique clairement les Vsages avec ordre et en peu de mots. Le tout dessine et compose par Ame Bourdon Medecin. Elles se vendent en blanc et enluminees a Cambray chez l'A uteur, a Paris chez Laurens D'houry, 1678, large tallfolio, 8 plates without text.
These plates were mostly done with the etching needle and the burin, and are for the most part imitations of previous pictures. They are inconvenient for practical use and have no particular anatomic or artistic value. On the other hand, they are very rare. The first plate represents a front and back view of a male body and also bears the title given above. The second, consists of four front views of the trunk. The third, shows the abdominal viscera, and the fourth, the thoracic organs, the genitals, and the brain. The fifth and sixth plates are representations of the bones and the muscles, the seventh and eighth of the nerves and the blood vessels. All the plates are signed: Amé Bourdon delineavit, excudit C. P. (cum privilegio) Regis, Daniel le Bossu sculp.
The text that belonged to these plates was later republished under the title: Nouvelle description du corps humain, Paris, 1683, 12°, and the plates were also added to this edition. After Bourdon's death they were published again: Paris et Cambray, 1707, fol., but probably under a new title.

The National Institute of Health has examples of 13 of the plates on its site: Historical Anatomies of the Web.

Link to a review of Human Anatomy by
Benjamin Rifkin, Michael Ackermann & Judith Folkenberg.

Human Anatomy: From the Renaissance to the Digital Age

More references at Atlas of Human Anatomy

And a database of books and images from books is available at The image shown is from Applied Anatomy: The Construction Of The Human Body", by Gwilym G. Davis. Available at
Applied Anatomy: The Construction of the Human Body Considered In Relation To Its Functions, Diseases and Injuries, Eighth Edition Another edition here: Applied Anatomy. The Construction of the Human Body considered in Relation to it

Visualizing Muscles: A New Ecorché Approach to Surface Anatomy

How to Draw the Human Figure (Watson-Guptill Artist's Library)

Albinus on Anatomy

Anatomy Lessons from the Great Masters

Mutter Museum Historic Medical Photographs

An ebook called A Treatise on Muscular Action - A Physiological, Theoretic and Practical Treatise on the Utility of the Science of Muscular Action for restoring the Power of the Limbs, By John Pugh Illustrations Drawn and Engraved by Thomas Kirk is available at

Another blog post at A Treatise on Muscular Action.

A treatise on the science of muscular action. By John Pugh, anatomist.
Text at  A treatise on the science of muscular action. By John Pugh, anatomist.

An ebook on Anatomy and Musculature is
Anatomy for Artists Painters and Sculptors.

Two ebooks on the exercise of muscles are from the early part of the last century from Germany"

Korper-schulung der Frau in Bildern und Merkworten (Field training of women in pictures and words) and Korper-schulung der Frau
in Bildern und Merkworten - Neue Folge

These books are comprised of a total of nine pamphletes:
Strengthening the back muscles of women.
Strengthening the abdominal muscles of women.
Correction of Breast and expansion of the chest of the woman.
Training of the lateral trunk musculature of the woman.
Relaxation training.
Breast Exercises of the woman.
Back bends.
Rotations of the backbone of the woman.


Мышцы человека. Вид спереди Muscle Man, Front View from from the Brockhaus Encyclopedia, wikipedia page.

Der Grosse Brockhaus: In zwolf Banden (German Edition)
Der Brockhaus: In zwei Banden (German Edition)
Die Geschichte des Grossen Brockhaus: Vom Conversationslexikon zur Enzyklopadie (Buchwissenschaftliche Beitrage aus dem Deutschen Bucharchiv Munchen) (German Edition)

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