De anatomische preparaten van Frederik Ruysch

About Frederik Ruysch

How to prepare an anatomical specimen?

No one was better than Ruysch at injecting dyes into the smallest blood vessels of anatomical specimens. He injected embryos, fetuses and newborn babies with such a skill that they appeared still to be alive. more

Ruysch´s preparations in Russia

Russian tsar Peter the Great made Frederik Ruysch´s acquaintance during his first visit to Amsterdam. He was received at Ruysch's home and viewed his specimens. Several years later he decided to purchase the anatomist's collection of specimens. more

Scientist or artist?

Was Frederik Ruysch predominantly a scientist or an artist? This is a question that might arise when looking at his specimens. The anatomist showed his visitors a spectacle, both amusing and instructive. more

The collection of Ruysch in unique in the world. The more we learn about the Ruysch-preparations the more they arouse our interest. Last century they were judged 'beautiful', but this century we discover Ruysch used his preparations for research and teaching. They turn out to play an important role in discussions with midwifes and colleagues who took things for true they had not seen with their own eyes. Ruysch, already famous for his Death Defying art, proves himself to be a Hero of Enlightenment.

The monstrosities of Ruysch

Ruysch generally prepared normal, healthy anatomical objects, not abnormal ones. Yet, he possessed some specimens that had such an abnormal anatomy, so-called monstrosities. He placed his monstrosities on the second row of his cabinets: 'So that not everyone needs to see them'. more

Manners of displaying the specimen

In his museum Ruysch displayed external body parts in such that they had a lifelike color. He wanted to do the same for inner organs, i.e., present these as if they were still inside the body. Even in the smallest blood vessels he used a needle to inject white or red wax to retain the original shape and color. more

Ruysch lectured with the help of specimens

To instruct in anatomy Ruysch preferred anatomical preparations above teaching from books. more

Ruysch as a teacher of midwives

In 1667, Ruysch was invited by the burgomasters of Amsterdam to teach anatomy to the surgeons. He wanted to improve the teaching and examination of midwives as well. more

The history of Ruysch's anatomy

Researchers trying to understand the working of the human body, encountered huge technical problems, because of the rapid decay of corpses. Around 1650 a corpse could only be used for a few days; enough time to educate students, but not enough to find the answer to complicated research questions. more

Russian science inspired by Ruysch's specimen

Peter the Great wanted to advance the sciences in Russia in every possible manner. Therefore he built a museum in his capital with a lot of different collections. In 1718 he bought Ruysch's collection with his anatomical specimen. more

Anatomical research has historically been hampered by religious taboos on cutting in dead bodies

From the start the development of anatomy has been obstructed by religious codes. In ancient Greece it was considered a great sin not to bury the dead in the earth, opening up a dead body was unthinkable. The Romans shared this view. more

Ruysch, an Enlightened scientist

The scientist Frederik Ruysch used methods that were characteristic for New Science and the Enlightenment. Glancing through the guides to his specimens, the Thesauri anatomici, it is easy to find proof for the fact that Ruysch practised New Science as an Enlightened medical doctor. more