Patrick's Rare Books

Tortebat/De Piles Abrege D’Anatomie 1667 & Audran Proportions Corps Humain 1688

Tortebat/De Piles Abrege D’Anatomie 1667 & Audran Proportions Corps Humain 1688

Abrege D’Anatomie, Accommode Aux Arts De Peinture Et De Sculpture, Et mis dans un ordre nouveau, dont la methode est tres-facile, & debarassee de toutes les difficultes & choses inutiles, qui ont toujours este un grand obstacle aux Peintres, pour arriver a la perfection de leur art. Ouvrage tres-utile, & tres-necessaire a tous ceux qui font profession du Dessein. Mis en lumiere par Francios Tortebat, Peintre du Roy dans son Academie Royale de la Peinture & de la Sculpture. Et se vendent A Paris, Chez ledit Tortebat, rue Neusve-Sainte-Catherine. 1667. Avec Privilege De Sa Maieste. 


Bound with:


Les Proportions Du Corps Humain Mesurees sur les plus belles Figures de l’Antiquite. A Paris, Chez Girard Audran, Graveur du Roy, rue S Jacques, aux deux Piliers d’or. 1688. Avec Privilege Du Roy.


Folio in quarter brown leather with tan cloth over boards. Raised bands and red leather title label with gold text on spine. Blind stamped details on leather. Date stamped at bottom of spine. Some mild scuffing of leather here and there. Hinges strong. New end papers. Original ffep slightly ragged at margins. Some pencil writing on original ffep. Margins of title page and preface leaves of Les Proportions a bit ragged as well. A few mild smudges and marginal tears here and there, as well as sparse foxing, but all plates remain intact, clean, and bright. Binding tight throughout. Two works bound as one.


2 new blanks, original ffep, title page for Abrege D’Anatomie, 2 pg epistle, 3 pgs au lecteur, title with text on verso, skeletal plate with text on verso (plate dated 1668), two skeletal plates (recto annotated in pencil), 6 muscle men plates with text on verso, 1 muscle man plate, two nudes on facing pages, text on verso of nude man.


Title page for Les Proportions du Corps Humain, 4 pgs preface, 1 pg advertisements, 13 plates each on recto (versos blank), 2 blank leaves, 10 plates (7th ruled in pencil), blank leaf, 1 plate (trimmed smaller and in different style than other plates), 2 new blanks.


Measures: 18 x 11 ½ x 1 ¼ inches.


The Harvey Cushing Collection of Books and Manuscripts (1943) lists:

Tortebat Fracois 1635-1709 T140 Abrege d’anatomie. Paris 1668. Fol. 2d copy incomplete F VI. D. 64.


Krivatsy’s Catalogue of Seventeenth Century Printed Books in the National Library of Medicine (1989) lists:

Piles, Roger De [1635-1709] Abrege d’anatomie, accommode aux arts de peinture et de sculpture... Mis en lumiere par Francios Tortebat [pseud.] … Paris. Tortebat, 1667.  … Plate B and Privilege dated 1668. Cushing VI.D.25. The illustrations reproduce plates from Vesalius’ Fabrica and Epitome.


This title was published iteratively under Francios Tortebat (1616? - 1690), Roger de Piles (1635 – 1709), and Joseph-Guichard Du Verney (1648 – 1730) (Also given as Duverney and Duvernoi, he was Albrecht Von Haller’s first teacher in anatomy, at Tubingen (Choulant, 1852/1917)).

A little digging in the internet reveals that some credit Tortebat as an engraver for this work, while others say it was a pseudonym for Piles, as Piles was himself both a painter and engraver.


See waller 9640 for a 1760 edition.


“(Rogers de Piles et) Francois Tortebat: Abrege d’anatomie accommode aux arts de peinture et de sculpture, Parris (1667), 1668, fol. This is the earliest work on anatomy intended for the use of artists. It contains twelve plates engraved by Tortebat ranging in size from fifteen Parisian inches, three lines, to sixteen inches, two lines, in height, and from seven inches, eight lines, to nine inches, three lines, in width. There are three skeletons, seven myologic plates (three from the principal work and four from the Epitome [here Choulant refers to the Fabrica and the Epitome of Vesalius]), and the two nude figures. According to the Privilege and to a signature on the fourth plate, the work cannot have appeared before 1668.” … “The Abrege d’anatomie … was written by Roger de Piles … under the pseudonym Francois Tortebat, as he himself states in his Cours de peinture par principes, Paris, 1708....” (Choulant, pg 195-196).


Cushing states, “by common consent the most beautiful reproduction of Vesalius’ illustrations ever to be made”


Heirs of Hippocrates 415: “From a noted family of French artists and engravers, Audran was one of its most distinguished members and was ultimately appointed engraver to King Louis XIV. This atlas of twenty-eight fine engravings was prepared by the author as an aid to artists and is based on classical statuary. The line drawing of such classical figures as Venus Aphrodite, Hercules, and Laocoon include detailed measurements to indicate precise proportions.” Additionally, one plate is is Egyptian. We note Heirs counts 28 plates, whereas ours has 30 (numbered continuously in their lower right corners).


Our copy of the Abrege collates complete per Choulant, while the Audran title is a different edition than that provided in the references works available to us, as well as the other copy of Audran we offer for sale in this catalogue.