‘The microcosm and the living world’ explores early modern thought on the human body and biology. Astrology had a large influence on early modern medicine, guiding personalised treatment plans. Anatomical dissections were rare in antiquity, but in early modern times they became commonplace, allowing for important discoveries in the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems. Microscopy fuelled debate about the nature of embryonic development, but gave new insights into plant physiology and biomecahnics. Some natural philosophers developed new systems of medicine, such as Helmontianism, which places water as the central element in the human body. New species from the Americas caused classification systems to be rethought.