by Infogram
Create infographics

Vintage Infodesign [98]

The ancient art of information visualization and cartography

December 8, 2014

Published nearly 500 years ago, Andreas Vesalius’ (1514-1564) medical text books occupy an important place in scientific history. Intricate art, unlike anything that had been seen before, sits alongside detailed text that sought to change the way bodies were dissected post mortem.

Cambridge University Library holds well-preserved copies of the Fabrica, and its companion piece the Epitome – publications that helped Vesalius realise his personal ambitions in the 16th Century court of the Holy Roman Empire. Keen to impress, Vesalius dedicated the Fabrica to Charles V – and the Epitome to his son, the future King of Spain, Philip II. Both works, alongside several others by Vesalius, are now presented in a virtual exhibition to mark 500 years since the birth of the author.

In the video below – made to promote the virtual exhibit -, Dr Andrew Cunningham, author of “The anatomical Renaissance: the resurrection of the anatomical projects of the ancients“, talks about the iconic frontispiece to the “De humani corporis fabrica libri septem”, published in 1543.

Here are all the picks of the week, starting with an incredibly innovative for the time, layered paper manikin – an early form of pop-up book -, from Vesalius’ Epitome:

Human body (1543) | Andreas Vesalius

(image: Andreas Vesalius)


ABC The Pathfinder Railway Guide Map (1902) | New England Railway Publishing Company

(image: New England Railway Publishing Company)


Pacific Greyhound Lines (1935) | Pacific Greyhound

(image: Pacific Greyhound)


Ethiopia at stake (1935) | Fortune Magazine

(image: Fortune magazine)


The United States of America laid down from the best authorities (1783) | John Willis

(image: John Willis)


Making faces to preserve beauty (1906) | The San Francisco Call

(image: The San Francisco Call)


Map of Oostende (1601)

(image: Map of Oostende (1601))


How to compute without numbers (1949) | Fortune Magazine

(image: Fortune magazine)


Map of the Gold Regions of California (1849) | James Wyld

(image: James Wyld)


World map (1720) | Guillaume De L’Isle

(image: Guillaume De L’Isle)


The Air Ocean (1944) | American Airlines, Inc.

(image: American Airlines, Inc.)


Residences of juvenile delinquents in the District of Columbia (1935) | District of Columbia, Office of the Surveyor

(image: District of Columbia, Office of the Surveyor)


Constellations, Solar System, Moon (1900) | Richard Andree

(image: Richard Andree)


US Steel (1943) | Fortune Magazine

(image: Fortune Magazine)


Map of Venice (1572) | Tomasso Porcacchi

(image: Tomasso Porcacchi)



That’s it for today’s round up! We’ll be back next week with another selection, but until then, enjoy our Pinterest board, just with old maps and infographics.

Written by Tiago Veloso

Tiago Veloso is the founder and editor of Visualoop and Visualoop Brasil . He is Portuguese, currently based in Bonito, Brazil.