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Jacques Fabian Gautier d'Agoty (1717-1785)


Gautier d'Agoty, Jacques Fabian. Anatomie generale des viscères en situation, de grandeur et couleur naturelle, avec l'angeologie, et la nevrologie de chaque partie du corps humain. ([Paris: s.n., 1752]).

Jacques Gautier d'Agoty was born in Marseilles in about 1717 and was trained as a printmaker under the noted Jacob Christoph Le Blon (1670-1741). Le Blon, originally from Frankfurt-am-Main, was the first to use colored mezzotinting, which involved making three different impressions (with blue, yellow, and red inks) using copperplates. His students, Jan Ladmiral (1698-1773) and Gautier d'Agoty, both later claimed to have invented the process themselves after Le Blon's death. Gautier d'Agoty's only known improvement on the process was adding an impression of black ink, which was not considered by many to be significant.

Gautier d'Agoty associated himself with surgeon Jacques-François-Marie Duverney (1661-1748) and together the two produced a number of large, colorful anatomical atlases, which were noted more for their style and sometimes their shocking appearance than their usefulness to physicians. After Duverney's death, Antoine Mertrud (d. 1767) also worked with the printer to create several other anatomical works. Jacques Gautier d'Agoty died in Paris in 1785.

The monumental Anatomie générale des viscères is thought to have been printed in Paris in 1752. Both Duverney and Mertrud assisted Gautier d'Agoty in its creation, but he writes in the colophon, "je suis le demonstrateur, le peintre, et le graveur tout ensemble." The Library's copy has 18 large plates, though a variant edition of the work has 24 plates (see Choulant).


Choulant, L. History and bibliography of anatomic illustration. Trans. and annotated by Mortimer Frank. (New York: Hafner, 1962), pp. 265-274.

Dictionnaire de biographie française. (Paris: Letouzey et Ané, 1933- ). Vol. 15, p. 847.

--http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/historicalanatomies/gautier_bio.html [Nov 2004]

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Anatomie des parties de la génértion de l’homme et de la femme
Paris, 1773. Colored mezzotint. National Library of Medicine
Jacques Fabien Gautier D’Agoty (1717-1785)
image sourced here.

Gautier D’Agoty’s colored mezzotints have a painterly quality. This pregnant woman calmly looks back at the viewer, a characteristic pose of 18th-century French portraiture.

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