The main advance made in medicine during the Renaissance (c. 1350–c. 1600; a European revival of classical Greek and Roman culture) was greater understanding of human anatomy (parts of the body). Because dissecting (cutting apart piece by piece to study) cadavers (dead bodies used for scientific study) was illegal during the Middle Ages (c. 450–c. 1500), the human body essentially remained a mystery until the Renaissance, when the laws against dissection were relaxed. At that time, medical researchers, such as the multitalented Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), used dissection to study the body. On the basis of his findings, Leonardo made more than 750 anatomical drawings. Another famous researcher of the period was Belgian doctor and professor Andreas Vesalius (1514–1564), who published the important textbook On the Structure of the Human Body (1543), which replaced the works of the Greek doctor Galen (129–c. 199).
Further Information: "History of Medicine." SchoolScience.co.uk. [Online] Available http://www.schoolscience.co.uk/content/4/biology/medicines/history1.html, November 6, 2000; Mayeaux, E. J. A History of Western Medicine and Surgery. [Online] Available http://lib-sh.lsumc.edu/fammed/grounds/history.html, November 6, 2000; "Medicine Through Time." BBC Online. [Online] Available http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/medicine/nonint/home.shtml, November 6, 2000.