The first true great anatomic illustrations were by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), who was an acclaimed inventor, engineer, and architect prior to his achieving fame as an artist. Illustrations that follow from "De humani corporis fabrica libri septem" by Andreas Vesalius mark the beginning of modern medicine since they are the result of independent investigation.
De humani corporis fabrica libri septem (1543) by Andreas Vesalius
Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564) brought medicine into the modern era with his monumental work De humani corporis fabrica libri septem (1543), now considered one of the greatest books in the history of medicine and science. Vesalius took that first great step away from the dogma that had strangled scientific investigation for centuries when he discarded all of Galen’s previously held “truths” and based his anatomic investigations on what he himself observed with his own careful dissections. This is a self-portrait from the first edition.