The art of depicting aspects of the human anatomy on connected and successive overlays of paper reached its height in the work of Johann Remmelin, a physician whose “pop-up” anatomical atlas Catoptrum Microcosmicum was first published in 1613 and later reprinted several times. This diagram of a woman, one of three large copperplate engravings in the work, is from a 1660 edition. In each of the three engravings, including this one, small printed flaps of paper in superimposed layers may be folded out of the way to reveal the parts of the body that lie beneath.
In the first image, the flaps are closed; they can be successively folded back to reveal, among many other body parts, the ribs, the lungs, the heart, and major blood vessels. The last image shows a final stage in which the pieces representing the heart and the lungs have been removed to show the rear wall of ribs.
Surrounding the central figure are seventeen images of parts of the body as seen from different perspectives, including two with their own printed layers—a skull viewed from below, at lower left, and a posterior view of the stomach, at right. Remmelin’s book reflects the considerable advances in anatomical knowledge that took place in the Renaissance. In typical early modern fashion, all of this hard science mingles comfortably on the page with allegorical allusions to a phoenix, a snake, and several apples.