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Diorama showing the anatomy theatre at Padua in 1594, England, 1901-1950

The first permanent anatomy theatre for dissections was built in 1594 at the University of Padua, one of the largest and most influential medical schools of the time. The theatre could hold three hundred students who were no more than eleven metres from the dissecting table. Human dissection is one way for medical students to learn anatomy. Hieronymus Fabricius ab Acquapendente (1537-1619), who had been professor of surgery and anatomy since 1562, taught his students in the anatomy theatre. His students included William Harvey (1578-1657), who went on to discover the circulation of the blood. The anatomy theatre can still be visited today.

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Related Themes and Topics



Glossary: anatomy

A branch of medical science concerned with the structure of living organisms.

Glossary: diorama

A model with three-dimensional objects, often sculpture, with a realistic painted background.