The surgeon

  • New
Reference: S46884
Author Hieronymus Brunschwygk
Year: 1497 ca.
Measures: 135 x 160 mm
€450.00

  • New
Reference: S46884
Author Hieronymus Brunschwygk
Year: 1497 ca.
Measures: 135 x 160 mm
€450.00

Description

Surgeon visits a man with arrow wounds, from 'Das Buch der Cirugia' first published Strasbourg, 1497.

Woodcut, without signature.

The first important printed surgical treatise in German. It combines a compilation of the ancient and medieval authorities with Brunschwig's own extensive experience. It contains the first detailed account of gunshot wounds in medical literature, and is notable for its woodcuts, some of the earliest specimens of medical illustration.

"The third most important work published on surgery in the fifteenth century [after Guglielmo da Saliceto of Bologna's La ciroxia vulgarmento fata (Venice: 1474) and Guy de Chauliac's Chirurgia magna (Lyons: 1478)] was the Cirurgia of Hieronymus Brunschwig, first printed at Strasbourg by Grüninger in 1497. Another edition was published later that year by Schönsperger at Augsburg. As Dr. Sigerist has shown Brunschwig was the first German author to write an important manual and the first German surgeon to take advantage of the then recently invented printing press to gain a wider sphere of influence for himself. Brunschwig was an exceedingly well-read man who possessed a far wider knowledge of literature than most of his colleagues. He says in his book on distillations, published in 1500 by Grüninger, that he had studied from 3,000 books. Brunschwig's Cirurgia was intended to be a manual for practical use and was written in German in the Strasbourg dialect. The book was well illustrated with several finely executed woodcuts which in themselves are a source for costume design of the fifteenth century. These fine drawings have helped to make this work one of the most beautiful of the medical books printed in the fifteenth century" (Thomas E. Keys, "The Earliest Medical Books Printed with Movable Type: A Review," The Library Quarterly, Vol. 10, No. 2 (April 1940), page 226, describing the 1497 first edition.

The woodcuts are by an unknown artist who signed most of them with the initials H.B. (at one time attributed to Hans Burgkmair). "The scenes that resulted invariably involved a group of three people (the surgeon and his retinue) on one side of the frame who are gazing at a single figure on the other. The single figure is the patient who sometimes is displaying a particular wound or ailment while seated in a chair, sometimes while standing and sometimes lying in bed" (R. Allen Shotwell, "The Anatomist and the Book in the Early Sixteenth Century," draft of a talk presented at the University of Iowa History of Medicine Society, April 29, 2011).

Hieronymus Brunschwygk (c. 1450 – c. 1512)

Was a German surgeon ("Wundarzt"), alchemist and botanist. He was notable for his methods of treatment of gunshot wounds and for his early work on distillation techniques. His most influential book was the Liber de arte distillandi de simplicibus (also called Kleines Destillierbuch).

Hieronymus Brunschwygk (c. 1450 – c. 1512)

Was a German surgeon ("Wundarzt"), alchemist and botanist. He was notable for his methods of treatment of gunshot wounds and for his early work on distillation techniques. His most influential book was the Liber de arte distillandi de simplicibus (also called Kleines Destillierbuch).