The use of images to depict the human body has a long history. Until the 14th century, these were almost exclusively of religious or aesthetic importance. But by the 16th century, art and anatomy were becoming increasingly intertwined as the human body became a focal point of scientific investigation. Anatomical works appeared in greater numbers but were still predominantly textual, with few illustrations and crude ones at that. With Vesalius' De Humani Corporis Fabrica (1543), the image became paramount, and the modern anatomical atlas was conceived.
Cortright G. Atlas of Anatomy. JAMA. 2009;301(17):1825–1831. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.591
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