Askold V. Smirnov1
1Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)
6 Miklukho-Maklaya St., Moscow 117198, Russia
This article gives a systematic account of the activities of Ilya Buyalsky in the Department of Anatomy at the Imperial Medical and Surgical Academy in Saint Petersburg. It successively traces the key stages of his life at the academy: his first appointment as a prosector, the defence of his doctoral dissertation, his election as a full professor, and then as head of the department (after the retirement of Academician Pyotr Zagorsky), and his subsequent years of intensive and diverse research and teaching work. Buyalsky’s work as a skilled preparator who made a significant contribution to the development of new techniques for preparing anatomical specimens and embalming is explored in depth. Buyalsky had a natural talent for drawing and a refined taste in art; he used various visual teaching aids, many of which were genuine works of art. He was acquainted with well-known artists (Karl Bryullov, Aleksei Yegorov, Maksim Vorobyov, and so on), who helped to create these aids. With the help of archive sources, the recollections of contemporaries, and the historical literature, details are provided of the organisation of teaching, research and curricular work in the department under Buyalsky and his assistants. It is noted that Buyalsky’s textbook A brief general anatomy of the human body was innovative for its time, including not only information on descriptive human anatomy and physiology, but also an introduction to general pathology, surgery and therapy.
Keywords: history of medicine, Medical and Surgical Academy, normal and pathological anatomy, anatomy teaching, corrosion casts, I. V. Buyalsky, P. A. Zagorsky