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Martínez, Cris


(b. Valencia, Spain 1638; d. Flanders, 1694)


Information about the early career of Martínez is almost nonexistent. He was associated with a circle of anatomists at the University of Valencia, where he began work on an anatomical atlas around 1680. In December 1686 he received a grant from Charles II which enabled him to advance his studies abroad. Martínez arrived in Paris on 19 July 1687 to continue work on his atlas, associating himself with Joseph-Guichard Duverney and other members of the recently founded Académie des Sciences. Accused of spying, he was obliged to flee France in 1690.

The anatomical work of Martínez survives in nineteen engravings and a few written descriptions. His macroscopic drawings, encompassing most of the human body, bespeak a functional interpretation of anatomy. His genius was most apparent, however, in microscopic studies of the structure of the human bone, work which placed him among the first generation of European microscopists, the only Spaniard so to qualify.

Both in his drawings and in his essay”,Generalidades acerca de los huesos” (“Generalities concerning Bones”), martínez sought to explain the processes of ossification from the embryo, through infantile bones without periosteum, to the mature bone structure. He studied the insertion of ligaments and muscles; the periosteum; the exterior pores of the bone; the structure of compact bone substance and of spongy bone tissue (this last was the subject of his best graphic work); and the function of bone marrow. his work rested on four concepts: the formation of fat from the blood (an iatrochemical notion accepted by most of his contemporaries); the presence of storage vesicles; the morphological and functional nature of the medulla; and the existence of adipose circulation. Martinez regarded the “adipose vessels” as his major discovery,and his work in this area reflected the great influence of Harvey among late seventeenth-century anatomists.


I Original Works. The extant anatomical drawings and writings of Martínez are collected in José María López pin¯ero, ed., El Atlas Anatómico de Crisóstomo Martinez (Valencia, 1964). Of the nineteen drawings published by López Pin¯, only three had been published before: no, XIX in Nouvelles figures de proportions et d’anatomie du corps humain (Paris, 1689; repr., Frankfurt-Leipzig, 1692); and nos. XVII and XIX in Nouvelle esposition des deux grandes planches gravées et dessinées par Chrysostome Martinez, Espagnol, représentant des figures trés singuliieres deproportions et d’anatomie, with revisions of Martínez’s text by J. B. Winslow (Paris, 1740; repr., 1780).

II. Secondary Literature. Various aspects of Martnezíwork are discussed in P. Dumaitre, “Un anatomiste espagnol à; Paris au XVIIe siècle. Chrysostome Martinez et ses rarissimes planches d’anatomie,” in Mèdecine de France, no. 154(1964),10–15; Josè M. López Pin¯ero, “La repercusion en Francial de la obra anatómica de Crisóstomo Martinez,” in Cuadernos de Historia de la Medicina Espan¯ola,6 (Salamanca, 1967), 87–100; and Maria Luz Terrada Ferrandis, La anatomia microscópica en Espan¯a (siglos XVII-XVIII) (Salamanca, 1969).

Thomas F. Glick

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