The European Academy of Yuste Foundation honours the physician of Emperor Charles V

Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564), born in Brussels, revolutionized not only our understanding of the human body but also served as the personal physician of Emperor Charles V, the most powerful man in the sixteenth century. To celebrate the fifth centenary of Vesalius’ birth, the European Academy of Yuste Foundation has organized an exhibition in which visitors can see drills, enemas and other documents of the age and learn more about the extraordinary fate of Brussels’ most famous doctor, as well as the main diseases of the Renaissance period which the monarch and his entourage might suffer from. From 1546 onwards he treated the Emperor’s gout with China root and, from then on, the famous anatomist’s career unfolded around the monarch and his court. Vesalius accompanied the emperor on his military campaigns and was at his side during all the important moments of his life, such as in 1555 in Brussels, when he abdicated in favour of his son Philip II, with whom Vesalius would continue his work.

The exhibition illustrates the destinies of two atypical figures of the Renaissance: Vesalius, court physician and pioneer in medicine, and Charles V, the sovereign of an empire on which the sun never set. The exhibition, which runs until 30 August in Coudenberg Palace (formerly the Palace of Charles V) in Brussels, is organized within the framework of the Carolus V Festival and also forms part of the collaborative activities of the European Routes of Emperor Charles V Cooperation Network. This activity, together with the Ommegang, will be a key activity of the festival and a feature of its opening day.

The opening of the exhibition, attended by over 200 people, was attended by Joaquín Durán, the Cultural Counsellor of the Embassy, Thierry Appelboom, the exhibition curator and President of the Royal Museum of Medicine of Belgium, and Fadila Laanan, Minister-President of the Cultural Commission of the Brussels Region, among other figures.


It is important to mention that the European Academy of Yuste Foundation and Coudenberg Palace have worked together for several years on joint projects which attempt to highlight the importance of the figure and epoch of Emperor Charles V, emphasizing the value of European culture as a form of union. One example is the proposed creation of a European cultural itinerary known as the European Routes of Emperor Charles V, which aims to be included on the list of Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe.