European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 18 - Number 3
Eur J Anat, 18 (3): 205-208 (2014)

Frederik Ruysch (1638-1731): life and lessons from a memorable anatomist

Bernardo L.C. Precht, Eduardo B. Fontes, Marcio A. Babinski and Rafael C. de Paula

Department of Morphology, Biomedical Center, Fluminense Federal University, RJ, Brazil

ABSTRACT Frederik Ruysch (1638-1731) was a Dutch surgeon, anatomist, and artist. His medical career followed a sucessful course, resulting in many awards and prizes. Advancements in his career afforded him a variety of privileges, including access to cadavers, on which he could perform dissections. During the 17th and early 18th century he made several discoveries and descriptions of human anatomy, physiology and pathology, in the different systems of the human body. He also developed an impressive fixative solution, enabling him to give a “life aspect” to the cadaveric pieces which he prepared. Finally, Ruysch could present his preparations in an artistic way, paying attention to details in order to create not only an image of a well-preserved cadaver, but a whole contextualized message, which could impress the people of his time and is still impressing people at the present. Professor Frederik Ruysch and his exhibitions were a revolutionary during his lifetime, presenting new discoveries in different fields, creating a new fixative solution and adding the artistic component into the anatomical science.

Keywords: Embalming, Frederik Ruysch, History of Anatomy, Fixative solution, Surgery

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)