Three precious Renaissance medicine books stolen in 1998 returned to the Rouen museum

2023-12-05 18:49:01

Two works by the Flemish doctor André Vésale and the French surgeon Ambroise Paré, stolen during a conference twenty-five years ago, have just been found at the end of an “incredible” story.

Three valuable 16th century medical books, stolen twenty-five years ago from a museum in Rouen and found by «miracle» at the Grenoble hospital, were returned on Tuesday, conclusion of an itinerary “incredible”.

These are two works by the famous Flemish Renaissance physician André Vesalius, Seven books on the structure of the human bodydating from 1543 and Anatomists of the whole dating from 1564, estimated respectively at 1.5 million and 850,000 euros, and Oeuvres by the French surgeon Ambroise Paré, dating from 1575 and worth around 40,000 euros.

» READ ALSO – File: medical stories

Theft is prescribed, not receiving stolen property

“It’s a happy miracle that we found them today in such good condition”rejoiced Grenoble prosecutor Eric Vaillant, when they were handed over to officials of the Flaubert and History of Medicine Museum in Rouen, where they had been stolen during a conference on November 5, 1998.

Of the structure of the human body, by Andrew Vesalius (first edition of 1543). The scene shows a public dissection.”/>

Woodcut of the title page of Of the structure of the human body, by Andrew Vesalius (first edition of 1543). The scene shows a public dissection. Wikimedia Commons.

Theft is now prescribed. However, an investigation into receiving stolen goods is “in progress, we will see if it succeeds”added the prosecutor, specifying that the people who held the books “were in complete good faith”.

Stolen at a conference, found in a trash can

The story of the discovery of the three works is “a bit incredible”, reported for his part Fabrice Chabin, judicial police investigator in Grenoble. One of the conference participants “was obviously a collector. We would like to know who it is”he stressed.

An artificial leg invented by Ambroise Paré.

An artificial leg invented by Ambroise Paré. National Library of Medicine.

The books were first found in 2011 by an employee of the Grenoble University Hospital in a box near a garbage dumpster in the hospital courtyard. He kept them at home for around ten years before his son contacted the Medical Sciences Museum of the CHU, which in turn reported the discovery to the judicial authorities and the Rouen museum.

» READ ALSO – Pills, sugared almonds and arsenic: diving into the small secret pharmacy museum in Paris

“The two beacons of Western surgery”

“From a symbolic point of view, you don’t realize what it’s like for a surgeon to have that in hand”, was moved by François Moutet, former head of hand surgery at Grenoble University Hospital. Pare and Vesalius were “the two beacons of Western surgery of the Renaissance”he stressed. “Imagine if these wonders went into the trash!”

The three works should now find their place in the Rouen pavilion where the writer Gustave Flaubert was born, indicated Laurence Renou, vice-president of cultures of the Rouen metropolis, who expressed his «gratitude» for this restitution.

#precious #Renaissance #medicine #books #stolen #returned #Rouen #museum

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.