Patrick's Rare Books

Tortebat/ De Piles Abrege D’Anatomie, 1765

Tortebat/ De Piles Abrege D’Anatomie, 1765

Abrege D’Anatomoie, 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 ete un grand obstacle aux Peintres, pour arriver a la perfection de leur art. Par M. De Piles. Ouvrage tres-utile, & tres-necessaire a tous ceux qui font profession du Dessein. Mis en lumiere par Francios Tortebat, Peintre du Roi dans son Academie Royale de Peinture & de Sculpture. A Paris, Rue Dauphine, Chez Charles-Antoine Jombert, Libraire du Genie & de l’Artillerie, a l’Image Notre-Dame. 1765. Avec Approbation Et Privilege De Sa Majeste.


Folio rebound in half red leather binding with marbled paper over boards. Rasied bands and gold text and details on spine. Corners bumped. Corners, edges, and spine a bit worn and chipped in a few places. Hinges strong. Gilt page edges. Marbled end papers. Library plate on front paste down. Faint 18th century signature on title page. Small marginal tear on text page for Fig 1 (not into text). Top edge of fig 4 trimmed focally into skull of muscle man. 2 inch tear pl 9. paper repairs pl 8, 9, 10.


First muscle man and skeleton with pencil grid partially drawn over them. Part two and portions of part three have extensive manuscript descriptions/explanations of the plates, done in an 18th century hand. The final line of manuscript annotations is in a different hand and ink and refers to de Piles edition of 1684.


Ffep, four new blanks, title, 4 pg preface, title, 29 leaves plates/text, table, 3 new blanks.


Title/table (verso), fig 1(r)/2(v), text leaf, figs 3(r)/4(v), text, 5(r)/6(v), text, 7, title/text, text leaf, planche 8 - 10 (dated 1668), manuscript leaf, decorative title (manuscript verso), three skeletal plates: 2, 3, 4 (skeletons with manuscript versos, mansucript titles, and annotations on plates), muscle plates (each with manuscript on versos): 5, manuscript blank, 6 – 12, 13 – 15 musculoskeletal plates without manuscript on versos.


25 plates in all, plus a decorative title page for the third part of this work.


Measures: 17 ¼ x 12 x ¾ 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, tow 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”