Want it to last? Draw, don’t write

A review of Clifford Connor’s A People’s History of Science in the New York Times this month has this observation:

A great moment in the history of science was the publication of Andreas Vesalius’s anatomy book, De Humani Corporis Fabrica, in 1543. What made the book a triumph wasn’t the Latin text Vesalius wrote but the 420 illustrations. He never took the trouble to name the artists he’d hired to draw them. Nobody has ever translated the whole of Vesalius’s text into a modern Western language; the illustrations have stayed in print from that year to this.

The review was written by Jonathan Weiner.

Illustrators, even anonymous ones, can have a great impact on their audience – and this is a prime example of just that.

(Posted Dec. 31, 2005)

About Jim Stovall

Jim Stovall teaches journalism at the University of Tennessee.

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