The nervous system in colours: the tabulae pictae of G.F. d'Acquapendente (ca. 1533-1619).J Headache Pain. 2006 Oct; 7(5):360-6.JH
Girolamo Fabrici d'Acquapendente (ca.1533-1619), in his olograph will donated to the Signoria of Venice a rich collection of anatomical paintings, which are today preserved in the Marciana Library. The third volume of these tabulae pictae, entitled De Anatomia Capitis Cerebri Nervorum, deals with the nervous system and contains the only known illustrations by Fabrici regarding neuroanatomy. Despite the realisation of this splendid collection of 21 coloured paintings, neither a systematic description nor an iconographic record regarding nervous structures were found to be published by Fabrici. For this reason, a thorough study of these plates is pivotal to a better understanding of the contribution made by d'Acquapendente to the knowledge of the nervous system. Besides their aesthetic quality, Fabrici's tabulae pictae appear as a unique document of exceptional scientific value, thanks to the unprecedented realism given to the anatomical structures by the innovative use of colours. These pictures represent the highest point reached by the 16th-century Paduan Medical School well demonstrating its aim for a sound naturalistic approach.