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GAUTIER-DAGOTY, who was a doctor in the 18th century, is the author of a work, not only famous for its professional qualities but also for its artistic value.

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The " Gautier-Dagoty " (in 5 folio volumes) belongs to the rarest medicine books. It is regarded as a work of art because of its plates, the colours of which have always fascinated the " Surrealists ". Some enthusiasts did not hesitate to dismantle these books to exhibit the plates in the form of pictures. It sometimes occurs that a plate is put up for auction and reaches 15 000 FF or even more.


 

This is not the only value of Gautier-Dagoty's work, professor André Morin explains hereafter his point of view :

Anatomy works have several values ":

- historical, showing the evolution of knowledge and ideas.

- scientific, through descriptive elements enabling the understanding of human body structures.

- artistic through the need for a quality iconography, in particular for ancient books, which require the skills of real artists for their drawings and plates.

Gautier Dagoty's books are part of a line of anatomical and artistic works, producing black and colour printings.

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Book III - plate 47

Even though Jacques de VORAGINE (1230-1298) had already published his "Golden Legend", the expansion of anatomy treatises was particularly notable from the invention of printing by Güttenberg in 1448. Only a few examples of works prior to and after Dagoty will be mentioned.

  In 1543, in Basel, André VESALE, conflicting with Galen's doctrine, published "De humani corporis fabrica", followed in 1545 in Paris by Charles ESTIENNE : "De Dissectione partium corporis humani". The plates of both works are very similar.

 In 1528 Albert (Albrechts) DÜRER, the famous engraver proposed "The human body proportions"; EUSTACHE's book in 1564 after which several parts of the body (Eustachian valve...) were named.
 Leonardo da VINCI in his "Anatomical images" and his painting treatise, took up, in particular, the body proportions, from the "Square of the ancients" to the "Eight heads".

 There were also at the 17th century, "Anatomia reformata" from Thomas BARTHOLIN, and the wonderful "Anatomia" from Godfried BIDLOO: plates done by the Dutch painter Gérard LAIRESSE and engraved by BLOTELING, representing the anatomy with a great precision combined to grace and poetry (like the emotion we feel at the sight of an opened uterus with a foetus inside).



 

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Book V - plate 25

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Book I - plate 7 
 

More plates

The editions of the 18th century introduced new scientific information, they were real works of art.
 

This is DAGOTY's century, his work had been preceded by the "Theatrum anatomium" from J. JACOBI MANGETI in 1717 and followed by the "Myomata reformata" from William COXPER, Londres 1784.
 

Indeed, the five volumes of DAGOTY were published between 1745 and 1775 in big format :


Gautier DAGOTY, " anatomist pensioned by the King " is also an engraver. He improved the techniques of this art. Dagoty's anatomical plates are fascinating not only because of the arrangement of the elements but also for the didactic aspect. The colours, discreet and realistic, are real works of art.

 Then, the anatomy represented in very beautiful treatises continued to fascinate at the 19th century with

 
 Jules CLOQUET in 1821 and his "Man anatomy", book he illustrated himself.
 BOURGERIE and his "Complete treatise of anatomy" (including operating medecine).
 The " great RICHER ! " in 1890:  "Artistic anatomy treatise" from Paul RICHER.

 And then at the 20th century with :
 SOBOTA , PERNKOPF atlas and the magnificent human anatomy atlas from Franck NETTER, who painted himself all plates, and so on...

 
 
 

Anatomy and art have always been closely and successfully connected.
Let's enjoy the reading of Gautier Dagoty's books.



Professor André Morin and doctor Robert Gauthier have been fascinated by the mixing of "horror" and "beauty" emerging from these plates.


 
 
 

The university Claude Bernard, who owns an entire copy of the Gautier Dagoty's books, authorised the Association Universitaire d'Anatomie et d'Implantologie to reedit this work.