When first published in 1627 under Bucretius’s direction, the engravings accompanied Adriaan van den Spiegel’s unillustrated anatomical text, De humani corporis fabrica libri decem. In his will, Spiegel had directed Bucretius to finish the work. To accompany the text, Bucretius purchased a group of copperplate engravings that had been commissioned from Joseph Maurer by Giulio Cesare Casseri, also known simply as Casserio, who had been working for more than 16 years on an atlas of human anatomy when he died in 1616. Bucretius used 77 of Maurer’s plates and commissioned 20 more from the Odoardo Fialetti, a Venetian painter, which were engraved by Franceso Valesio.
Casseri and Spiegel both had studied at the University of Padua under the renowned physician Fabrici. Casseri succeeded Fabrici as chair of anatomy and surgery at the university in 1608, and Spiegel succeeded him in 1616.
Odoardo Fialetti was an Italian artist, born in Bologna, the son of a French-born professor at the great universities at Padua and Bologna. Fialetti studied with Cremonini, then entered the studio of the renowned painter Tintoretto in Venice, where he became close to his mentor and was named executor of the estate. He produced at least 38 paintings for Venetian churches, including those of San Marco and Sant’Andrea de Murano. He also engraved more than 300 plates after his own drawings and those of other masters. Today several of his paintings are in the collections of Hampton Court and Kensington Palace.
Franceso Valesio was a painter, engraver, designer and art dealer. He engraved numerous plates for books, notably Illustrium Anachoretorum Elogio (1612) — a series on hermits by the Benedictine monk Jacobus Cavacius. He also is known for portraits and for town views after Pietro Vaccini and others.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning, handling, wear. Recently professionally cleaned and deacidified, a few with short tears also restored.
Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs. France: Librairie Gründ, 1966. Vol. 3, pp. 739-740 (Fialetto), Vol. 8 p. 456 (Valesio).
“Sale 1885, Lot 27.” Christie’s. 5 October 2007. http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/books-manuscripts/spiegel-adriaan-van-den-de-humani-4959884-details.aspx (21 April 2013).
“Spiegel and Giulio Casseri:De humani corporis fabrica libri decem.”Historical Anatomies on the Web, U.S. National Library of Medicine. 5 June 2012. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/historicalanatomies/casseri1_home.html and http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/historicalanatomies/casseri_bio.html (19 April 2013).