Tabulae Sceleti et Musculorum Corporis Humani




Monro Collection A02



Lugduni Batavorum [Lyon], J & H Verbeek


My favourite book of the Monro collection is Albinus’ skeletal and muscular atlas because it represents an intersection between conceptual anatomical perfection and an artistic blueprint concerning the representation of bodily form. Bernard Siegfried Albinus (1697-1770) was the Professor of Anatomy at the University of Leiden for 50 years. Such was his international influence on the teaching of anatomy that one of his students declared that ‘it was impossible to discover anything new in the anatomy of muscles because Albinus was sure to have found it already.’ Albinus permitted local engraver Jan Wandelaar (1690-1759) sufficient artistic license to add Baroque backdrops to the ‘mannikins’. One of the symbols used to reflect their ‘new’ anatomy was the image of a travelling European Asian rhinoceros called Clara. Wandelaar had the privilege of drawing Clara after visiting the animal in the Amsterdam Zoo in 1741. This image was already so iconic that it appeared in shops in Leiden five years before publication of this unique book.
(Chosen by Professor Andrew Zbar, Department of Anatomy, University of Melbourne)


cab 1 albinus.JPG


Bernhard Siegfried Albinus, “Tabulae Sceleti et Musculorum Corporis Humani,” | OUR Heritage, accessed February 24, 2024,