Medicine’s Michelangelo: The Life & Art of Frank H. Netter, M.D.

Francine Mary Netter. Quinnipiac Univ. (AtlasBooks, dist.), $39.95 (488p) ISBN 978-0-9891376-0-7
Netter offers a detailed biography of her father, a gifted medical illustrator of the middle and last third of the 20th century. Frank Netter was trained as both a physician and an artist, and he became known to thousands of medical students and doctors, in the U.S. and abroad, thanks to his 52 years of producing detailed illustrations for “clinical symposia” for the Swiss pharmaceutical company Ciba-Geigy, culminating in the path-breaking Atlas of Human Anatomy. The author repeatedly cites doctors who collaborated with her father, emphasizing his attention to detail. While much medical illustration tends to be “bloodless,” a Ciba-Geigy official notes how, in a series illustrating the development and effects of cerebral palsy, Netter captured the suffering brought on by the disease. The author’s style is fluid, though she occasionally presumes specialized knowledge of medicine and anatomy, and the book is weighted down by extraneous details. Despite these flaws, as well as the relative dearth of color illustrations, the author has brought her creative, extremely hard-working father to life. The book illustrates why the medical community almost universally held Netter in high esteem. 65 grayscale and 19 color illus. Agent: Robin H. Miura. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/24/2013
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