Left: Portrait of Adrien Pelerin (1698-1771) Signed L.P. Probably painted by his son Adrien Louis Pelerin ± 1765. From the legacy of the English branch of the Pelerin family. | RHCL Library GAM, cat.nr. 16 D 36 Left Below: Authorisation of the town council,' Indivieze Raad', to Pelerin to perform public lectures in anatomy and demonstrations of surgery in Maastricht. | RHCL Archive Indivieze Raad inv.nr.77 103 In this beautifully illustrated book, which was published in The State Council had appointed medical doctor Adrianus 1543, Vesalius described the human anatomy based on Pelerin of Leiden as professor to teach anatomy in Maastricht. dissections of cadavers in the anatomical theatre in Padua. The resolution in question of 30 April, 1738 read: ‘Doctor Vesalius’s anatomy atlas was studied in the library of the Pelerin at Maestrigt given the title of professor’. military hospital in the eighteenth century. During the public At the request of A. Pelerin, doctor of the hospital of anatomy lessons the professor taught practical anatomy the military garrison at Maastricht and after deliberations it has according to the method used by Vesalius to dissect the human been agreed and approved to confer on the said doctor the title body. Usually these were bodies of executed criminals, who of Professor of Anatomy and Surgery within Maastricht, and the were made available for this purpose. As for the place where authorisation to give, in that capacity, public lessons in anatomy the anatomy lessons were held in Maastricht, there is no and demonstrations of surgery to the instruction and benefit of certainty, but they may have been held in the military hospital the Surgeons of the Regiments, garrisoned there, and of others or in the ‘theatre’ of the Jesuit college. who might wish to attend’. Professor Adrien Pelerin gave public anatomy lessons The Indivieze Raad of Maastricht had come to the to military surgeons of the garrison, to the surgeons of the conclusion on 3 October, 1736 that anatomy lessons would not town and to students of the Illustrious School until his death in also be beneficial to Maastricht but also to the region. They 1771. This made Pelerin not only the first professor of medicine considered, since ‘(…) such instruction would be very useful, in Maastricht, but also, as a result of his anatomy lessons, the whether, in order to facilitate this work, the town might founding father of medical education in Maastricht. designate a place where Mister Doctor Pelerin could give his lessons and perform surgeries: having deliberated on and considered this that instruction in anatomy would definitely be of benefit to this town and the surrounding area.’ In 1738, Maastricht had a large military hospital, an Illustrious School and a sizeable group of doctors. Good instruction in anatomy was important for all three parties. Knowledge of anatomy was necessary for the practical work of the surgeons of the town and of the army. Sufficient knowledge of anatomy was one of the main criteria to admit students to university. Anatomy was learned from books, but even more so from observation during public anatomy lessons. These anatomy lessons had become popular all over Europe after the publication of the famous anatomy atlas of Andreas Vesalius: De Humani Corporis Fabrica.
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