Visualizing the Brain from the Renaissance to the Present
September 12 - October 31, 2019
Opening on September 12, 2019, this exhibition at Vanderbilt’s Annette and Irwin Eskind Family Biomedical Library is part of a collaborative international year-long initiative with Oxford University, the University of St. Andrews, the Royal College of Physicians, London, and others. This international series of exhibitions will explore the history of the concept of three-dimensionality and its influence on human perception and technological development.
Vanderbilt’s exhibition focuses on the origins of modern neuroscience, exploring human perception through studies and imagery of the brain. From the 16th-century works of anatomist Andreas Vesalius to stereograms to the latest 3D scanning techniques, the exhibition examines the physical and virtual ways that scientists have sought to depict and explain brain anatomy and function. Three-dimensional perception itself is a topic of this exhibition as well.
This innovative project puts minds of the 21st century in touch with those of early practitioners in neuroscience to explore biological, practical, and conceptual aspects of three-dimensionality in innovative and fascinating ways.
Highlights from the Exhibition
Details about the books and objects in this exhibit can be found on the exhibit's Wordpress site.
Gregor Reisch. Margarita Philosophica. Basel: M. Furter and J. Schott, 1508.
This is the first "modern" encyclopedia, published in 1503 and followed by numerous editions throughout the 16th century. In addition to covering topics such as geography, arithmetic, music, geometry, astronomy, and optics, the work is noteworthy for the popularization of the theory of ventricular localization of perception, cognition, and memory in the brain. This famous woodcut made an attempt at an anatomical representation of the ventricles and became an exemplar for future illustrations. This copy is on loan from Vanderbilt alumnus Dr. Arthur Lyons.
Rene Descartes. De Homine Figuris. Leiden: Leffen and Moyardus, 1662.
Rene Descartes is primarily noted for his philosophical contemplations and the theory of mind-body dualism. Descartes believed that the pineal gland was the seat of the human soul, and that it waved its wand-like structure in front of the ventricles to direct the actions of the human body. In this copy, on loan from Vanderbilt alumnus Dr. Arthur Lyons, the pineal gland is depicted as a separate flap of paper glued on top of the illustration. This flap adds to the depth of the illustration and emphasizes Descartes’s confidence in his theory.
Thomas Willis. Cerebri Anatome. London: Thomas Roycroft, 1664.
The circle of Willis, or the blood-supplying cerebral arterial circle, was first described in this 1664 work, with illustrations by anatomist, astronomer, and architect Sir Christopher Wren. Wren, the designer of St. Paul’s Cathedral, used a “perspectograph," to capture geometric proportions and dimensions of the nerves, blood vessels, and surface anatomy of the brain.
Andreas Vesalius. De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem. Basel: Oporinus, 1555.
Vesalius published the first comprehensive human anatomy based entirely on the dissection of human bodies. The illustrations were largely made by an artist from Titian’s workshop, and those of the brain represent the methodical removal of each successive layer from a variety of angles and depths.
Dalton, John Call. Topographical Anatomy of the Brain. Philadelphia: Lea Brothers and Co., 1885.
American neurophysiologist John Dalton published this innovative brain atlas by preparing photographs of vertical and horizontal brain sections. Dalton designed a sliding macrotome to create brain sections of equal size and thickness from every angle, anticipating the imaging of MRI technology. This was the first photographic brain atlas of its kind published in the United States.
Exhibition Grand Opening and lecture by Daryl Green, Librarian Magdalen College, Co-Director Thinking 3D
September 12, 4pm-5:30pm in the History of Medicine Collections Eskind Biomedical Library
Join Assistant Professor Ole Molvig for a lunchtime talk and demonstration of Virtual Reality technology. Lunch will be provided.
September 25, 12pm-1pm Stevenson Science and Engineering Library, Room 3211
Health Plus Video - Brain Health: Don’t Just Survive, Thrive! And Mindful Break
See how you can keep your brain healthy to perform at the top of your mental and emotional game and achieve what is most important to you in your life both personally and professionally.
Bring your lunch, learn about brain health, and learn some mindfulness exercises.
October 1, 12pm-1pm History of Medicine Collections, Eskind Biomedical Library, Training Room 010
"Anatomy and the Early Modern Mind" with Vanderbilt Professor Holly Tucker, Mellon Foundation Chair in the Humanities
October 9, 4pm-5pm History of Medicine Collections, Eskind Biomedical Library