The Michelangelo of medicine

Francine and Frank Netters
Francine with her father, Frank Netter.

Medicine's MichelangeloThe detailed drawings of physician and illustrator Dr. Frank H. Netter have helped generations of medical students see inside the body with remarkable clarity.

Those illustrations and the man behind them will be the focus of a seminar Oct. 6 at UNT Health Science Center. The event is the official launch of UNTHSC’s Center for Anatomical Sciences, which opened Sept. 1. Francine Netter, author of “Medicine’s Michelangelo,” will speak about her father and his work.

A seminar highlighting Dr. Netter’s award-winning best-seller “Atlas of Human Anatomy” provides the ideal way to introduce the new Center for Anatomical Sciences, said Rustin Reeves, PhD, professor and Director of Anatomical Sciences.

“As educators, we are very excited to be part of a new center focused on anatomical education on this campus,” Dr. Reeves said. “We are thrilled to have Francine Netter as our inaugural seminar speaker, giving students a glimpse into the past, seeing anatomy through the eyes of an iconic medical illustrator.”

In the book, Francine Netter tells the story of how, as a young surgeon starting out during the Great Depression, her father began selling his pictures to supplement his income. He went on to devote himself full-time to medical illustration.

“To me he was my father, but to millions of doctors, young and old, the world over, Frank Netter was their greatest teacher,” Francine Netter said. “His genius was such that he not only understood the most complex medical subjects, but he painted pictures so that they too could understand.”

Dr. Netter produced 13 atlases and more than 200 pamphlets. During his career he documented many of the great medical advances of the 20th century.

The seminar begins at 6 p.m. in MET 124 and 125. The free event is open to students, faculty and staff as well as the public. A book-signing will follow at 7 p.m. in the Four Star Café.

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