New Book | Visualizing Disease

Posted in books by Editor on August 5, 2018

From The University of Chicago Press:

Domenico Bertoloni Meli, Visualizing Disease: The Art and History of Pathological Illustrations (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2018), 288 pages, ISBN: 978-0226110295, $55.

Visual anatomy books have been a staple of medical practice and study since the mid-sixteenth century. But the visual representation of diseased states followed a very different pattern from anatomy, one we are only now beginning to investigate and understand. With Visualizing Disease, Domenico Bertoloni Meli explores key questions in this domain, opening a new field of inquiry based on the analysis of a rich body of arresting and intellectually challenging images reproduced here both in black and white and in color.

Starting in the Renaissance, Bertoloni Meli delves into the wide range of figures involved in the early study and representation of disease, including not just men of medicine, like anatomists, physicians, surgeons, and pathologists, but also draftsmen and engravers. Pathological preparations proved difficult to preserve and represent, and as Bertoloni Meli takes us through a number of different cases from the Renaissance to the mid-nineteenth century, we gain a new understanding of how knowledge of disease, interactions among medical men and artists, and changes in the technologies of preservation and representation of specimens interacted to slowly bring illustration into the medical world.

Domenico Bertoloni Meli is provost professor of history and philosophy of science and medicine at Indiana University, Bloomington.



Introduction: Bodies, Diseases, Images
1  Visualizing Disease in the Early Modern Period
2  ‘Sic nata est anatome pathologica picta’: The Diseases of Bones
3  Preserved Specimens and Comprehensive Treatises
4  Intermezzo: Identifying Disease in Its Inception
5  The Nosology of Cutaneous Diseases
6  Morbid Anatomy in Color
7  Comprehensive Treatises in Color
Concluding Reflections

Illustration Credits
List of Abbreviations