Anatomical illustration of the human brain occupying the cranium.
This is a public domain image from the NIH’s (National Institute of Health) History of Medicine Division from the National Library of Medicine. This illustration is part of Govard Bidloo’s Dutch anatomical atlas Ontleding des menschelyken lichaams, which experienced little success due to the rising costs of printing large medical volumes. However, Bidloo tried to break even by selling several hundred engravings from this work to an English anatomist, William Cowper, who published the 1698 Oxford text, Anatomy of the Human Bodies, with these images. The ownership of the engravings was debated after the publication of Cowper’s text.
This depiction of the human brain may seem grotesque by our modern standards, but it was very likely a cutting-edge likeness in the 17th century. The illustrations were created by Gérard de Lairesse, engraved by Abraham Blooteling, and Peter van Gunst (circa 1659-1724).
Ontleding des menschelyken lichaams was published in 1690 and contained this image. Because of this pre-1923 publication date, this image is in the public domain.
Hosted by the National Institute of Health website.