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Homo anatomicus or zodiac man from a French book of hours. by [Hardouin Brothers] - Hardcover - 16th century - from Alembic Rare Books (SKU: 301)

Homo anatomicus or zodiac man from a French book of hours.

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Homo anatomicus or zodiac man from a French book of hours.

by [Hardouin Brothers]

  • Used
  • hardcover
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London, Greater London
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About This Item

Paris: Hardouin, 16th century. Single leaf from a French book of hours, printed on vellum and hand illuminated (185 x 115 mm). Professionally mounted, framed and glazed using archival materials. On the recto, a depiction of the "anatomical man" as a skeleton surrounded by information about the humours, the zodiac, and the best times for bleeding, surrounded by an elaborate, uncoloured border. On the verso, the calendar for January with an elaborate border of acanthus leaves and human figures and an illuminated initial. Trimmed closely at the top edge and gutter side, wrinkling and spotting of the vellum. Very good condition. Illuminated zodiac man from a 16th-century French book of hours printed on vellum, probably from the workshop of Germain and Gillet Hardouin. During the late 15th and early 16th centuries printers often borrowed stylistically from manuscripts, and used vellum and colourful illuminations to increase the cachet of printed books. In France this trade was dominated by the Hardouin brothers, who were active between 1510 and 1550. Gillet was a printer, and unusually, all the illuminations were overseen in-house by his brother Germain, who was registered with the Guild of Illuminators. The "Homo anatomicus", bloodletting man, or zodiac man — a type of diagram that codified the relationship between the microcosm of the human body and the divine macrocosm — had its origin in classical thought and was a feature of European and Middle Eastern books of hours, almanacs, and medical texts throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance. This example depicts man as a corpse surrounded by text explaining the relationship between the signs of the zodiac, the parts of the body, and the four humours. The temperaments associated with the four humours are depicted in the smaller illuminations. Clockwise for the top left they are: the choleric temperament symbolised by a warrior with lion; the sanguine, with a hawk and monkey; melancholy surrounded by stars; and the phlegmatic with a lamb.


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Alembic Rare Books GB (GB)
Bookseller Inventory #
Homo anatomicus or zodiac man from a French book of hours.
[Hardouin Brothers]
Book condition
Quantity available
Place of Publication
Date published
16th century
Medicine|Anatomy & Physiology|Surgery|Medieval|Scientific Illustration|Book Design

Terms of Sale

Alembic Rare Books

30 day return guarantee, with full refund including original shipping costs for up to 30 days after delivery if an item arrives misdescribed or damaged.

About the Seller

Alembic Rare Books

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since: 2018
London, Greater London
Ask Seller a Question

About Alembic Rare Books

We specialise in rare science books dating from the late Middle Ages to the 20th century, including first editions, signed copies, manuscripts, objects, and ephemera. We have particular expertise in natural history, genetics and evolution, anatomy, nuclear physics and the Manhattan Project, early computing, and women in science. We also carry books related to women's history and literature.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

The page bound on the left side of a book, opposite to the recto page.
Vellum is a sheet of specialty prepared skin of lamb, calf, or goat kid used for binding a book or for printing and writing. ...[more]
Very generally, "leaves" refers to the pages of a book, as in the common phrase, "loose-leaf pages." A leaf is a single sheet...[more]
The page on the right side of a book, with the term Verso used to describe the page on the left side.
The inside margin of a book, connecting the pages to the joints near the binding.

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