Accepted Abstracts

Francesco Loy

Museum of Clemente Susini's anatomical waxes, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Cagliari, Italy

Further anatomical findings in the Anatomical Wax models of Susini and Boi at the University of Cagliari

In previous studies carried out in our Museum (Riva et al., 2010; Riva & Loy, 2017), it has been demonstrated that our anatomical wax models, which are works of Susini’s artistic maturity and the results of his cooperation with the Sardinian anatomist F. A. Boi, exhibit a number of anatomical details which are absent or less accurate in those seen in the other collections made in La Specola Museum. Among these findings, there are an early correct representation of the brain convolutions, the frontal view of dissected female external perineum, the dilated external uterine orifice seen from the vaginal ostium at the end of pregnancy, the ovarian follicles, etcetera. Furthermore, somatic and visceral nerves are reproduced with unprecedented accuracy and so are the vascular and muscular variations of interest to clinical anatomy.

A feature no previously reported is the precise representation, in the cranium of models IX and X, of the supernumerary sutural bones (better known with the eponym of Wormian bones). On the left side, a rather large Wormian bone is seen at the asterion point, among temporal, parietal, and occipital bones. Presence of Wormian bones in humans is variable: 10% in Caucasian, 40% in Indians, to 80% in Chinese skulls (Khan et al., 2011) and asterion is often involved (Baa et al., 2018), more frequently in left than in right side (Natsis et al. 2018).

These findings confirm, once more, that the models of our collection, besides their great artistic value also have a high documentary and scientific relevance.

 

 

 

Elena Corradini, Chiara Mascardi

Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Enzo Ferrari

Rethinking and reinterpreting the 18th – 19th century wax models of the Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia’s Museum System (In studiis artistarum project ).

A new step for the In studiis artistarum project, managed by Dioniso nella Botte association, will be hosted in the 18th century Anatomical Theatre of Modena, which belongs to the Museum System of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. The contemporary artists Francesco Cornacchia, Luisa Denti and Davide Saba will be involved in a laboratory, focused on the aesthetic re-elaborations of wax models, kept in the anatomical and obstetrical museums joined to the theatre. The obstetrical museum preserves the artefacts realized by the sculptor Giovan Battista Manfredini from Bologna, supervised by Antonio Scarpa. This collection was established in December 1775, in a hall near the theatre, inaugurated in the same year. Scarpa himself started up the academic year with a class of obstetrics, introducing the mandatory character of this course for doctors and for midwives too, in separate schools. On the other hand, the Anatomical Museum contains 19th century wax models of great interest for the artists, like those realized by Remigio Lei, a sculptor from Modena and professor in the Academy of fine arts. Under the commission of Filippo Pacini, an anatomic and pathologist; in this model, Lei reproduced hand’s corpuscles with the digital nerves, responsible for the vibrating and pressure stimuli. Pacini had discovered them in 1835, thanks to a microscope made by scientist Giovan Battista Amici from Modena. Among these artefacts, the artists will choose the ones that can inspire their creativity. The resulting artworks will constitute a site-specific exhibition in the suggestive Modena's Anatomical Theatre and in the surrounding laboratories, open to public from 2018, after a restoration. This exhibition continues the previous steps of In studiis artistarum, settled in Bologna, in the Archiginnasio's Anatomical Theatre and in the Anatomical Wax Collection Luigi Cattaneo.

Rumy Hilloowala

Division of Anatomy, West Virginia University HSN, Morgantown, WV, U.S.A.

Gaetano Zumbo’s Teatrini: Concealed?

The common theme in Zumbo’s all four teatrini – diminutive plural of teatrino (It.), the Theater-- was the passage of time and the resulting post-mortem changes of the human body. Gaetano Giulio Zumbo (16556-1701) was an anatomist, an artist, principally a wax modeler and a source of inspiration to literature of the early 18th century. A product of the Baroque period, of Sicilian decent he was ordained as an Abbot in the Catholic Church. The era was responsible for the expression of religious fervor leading to a certain level of emotional theatrics as seen in all the teatrini. The “Triumph of Time” and the “Vanity of Human Greatness” essentially deals with post-mortem changes while the “Plague” and “Syphilis” shows the effect of the disease. Wax modelling was an art that Zumbo perfected even before more well-known modelers – Giuseppe Ferrini, Clemente Susini and others under the direction of Felice Fontana, in the later part of the XVIII century, in Bologna and Florence. Zumbo’s models were in miniature requiring greater skill. The teatrini after a brief exposure in the Pitti Palace, “La Specola”- the Museum of Natural History -and the Bargello in Florence was relegated back to “La Specola” Even there it has never been exhibited with other human wax anatomical models, more likely due to their morbid theme. With this final relegation, the teatrini fell out of the realm of art

Martina Raudino 1, Moira Ambrosi 1, Giuseppe Pieraccini 2, Monica Galeotti 3 and Claudia Corti 4
1 Department of Chemistry Ugo Schiff, University of Florence, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (Firenze), Italy

2 Mass Spectrometry Center (CISM), University of Florence, 50139 Firenze, Italy

3 Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Laboratorio Scientifico, 50121 Firenze, Italy

4 Museum of Natural History of the University of Florence, ‘‘La Specola’’, 50125 Florence, Italy

 

The degradation of the anatomical wax models of “La Specola” Museum as a result of a demixing process

Beeswax-based artworks often show white efflorescence that may totally or partially cover their surface. A few of the anatomical models stored at “La Specola” Museum in Florence also periodically exhibit white crystallizations mostly constituted by palmitic and stearic acids whose formation mechanism is still partly unrevealed.

Solid admixtures of n-alkanes often represent metastable systems which show spontaneous microphase separation depending on the chain length difference Δn. In particular, nearly stable solid solutions are formed upon quenching only when the chain length mismatch Δn is four carbon atoms or less. As the chain length difference becomes larger, the chain ends packing becomes progressively more difficult and demixing occurs. The chain length difference between the palmitic and stearic acids and the main components of beeswax (long-chain n-alkanes and esters) certainly exceeds 4 suggesting that phase separation could take place within the bulk of the model.

The poor solid state miscibility between the different components and the subsequent migration of part of them towards the surface of the model have been adduced to explain the presence of white crystallizations on the surface of antique beeswax seals preserved at the National Archives in Prague.

Phase diagrams for binary mixtures containing beeswax and free fatty acids with different chain length were obtained by calorimetric measurements (DSC). The combination of DSC results and structural investigation carried out by X-ray analysis demonstrated that longer acids were better accommodate within the beeswax crystalline structure while shorter ones segregated outside the lamellar palisade.

Johanna Diehl

Conservation Department for the Collection of the Kunstkammer and Imperial Treasury of the Kunsthistorisches Museum.

 

The conservation of sixty scenes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses by Daniel Neuberger the Younger (KK_2460)

Daniel Neuberger (1621–1680) was a court sculptor to Emperor Ferdinand III. and Leopold I. in Vienna and the most important wax modeller of his time. The Kunstkammer and the Imperial Treasury of the Kunsthistorisches Museum hold eight ceroplastics of Daniel Neuberger’s oeuvre, whereby the sixty scenes from Ovid’s metamorphoses (1651) could undoubtedly regarded as one of Neuberger’s masterpieces.

 

The tableau is surrounded by a large dark ebony frame and is divided into sixty individual relief panels each only 4x5 cm small. The sixty scenes are arranged in six rows of ten, corresponding to their order in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The miniatures are modelled by hand in mainly white and pink wax, for imaging water greenish blue wax was used.

 

The presentation will focus on the construction, the material and the manufacturing technique of the relief panels. Furthermore current damage phenomena will be described and the conservation methods implemented will be presented.

Barbara Goldmann

Conservation Department for the Collection of the Kunstkammer and the Imperial Treasury of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna.

 

The end of transience? - The investigation, conservation and restoration of a Vanitas allegory to the death of the Emperor Ferdinand III by Daniel Neuberger the Younger

The presentation provides a summary of a multi-year, still on-going research project, which deals with the investigation, conservation and restoration of the most important, preserved wax object from the collection of the Imperial Treasury of Vienna.

The artwork is a kind of diorama made of wood and wax, which was produced after the death of Emperor Ferdinand III (1657) by his court artist Daniel Neuberger the Younger.

The depiction, modelled from beeswax, shows the Emperor laid out in a grotto, surrounded by nine skeletons with attributes of transience as an allegory of death.

Unfortunately, the general theme of this work – transience - has also transferred to the materials.

The very unusual material combination of beeswax and lead wire, which Neuberger chose for the construction of the skeletons, combined with harmful gases and climatic conditions, led to severe lead corrosion and, as a consequence, to considerable damage, including the loss of entire skeletal parts.

Therefore, the primary goal of the project is to secure the object condition and to ensure the best possible conservation and restauration of the skeletons.

Based on preliminary tests on dummies various consolidation agents for wax conservation were tested, and a restoration method optimally adapted to the object was developed.

In the course of the investigations for the necessary conservation measures, it was also possible to examine the object intensively for the first time, with regard to questions such as manufacturing techniques, material compositions and later revisions. The resulting new findings are extremely surprising and necessitate art historical reconsiderations of the work.

 

Veronica Papa 1, Elena Varrotto 2, Francesco Maria Galassi 3

1Università degli Studi di Cassino e del Lazio Meridionale, Dipartimento di Scienze Umane, Sociali e della Salute.

2Università di Catania, Dipartimento di Scienze Umanistiche.

3Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Archaeology, Adelaide 5001, SA, Australia.

The anatomical machines of the cappella sansevero: historical and paleopathological analisys of a myth

The Anatomical machines are, together with the veiled Christ, tighly linked to the Chapel and to the history of its patron, Raimondo di Sangro VII prince of Sansevero. Today exposed in the subterranean cavea of the Cappella Sansevero and protected in wooden and glass exhibitors, they were commissioned to the Sicilian physician Giuseppe Salerno in the second half of the eighteenth century.

The Anatomical machines of the Sansevero Chapel are represented by two bodies: These two skeletons, a man and a pregnant woman, are entirely surrounded by their own circulatory system.

Over the centuries, Sansevero’s anatomical machines were protagonists of legends and superstitions, and represent a marvelous example of science and art. According to the legend, in fact, the models were the outcome of an operation of human vivisection in which two servants were killed through the injection of embalming substances in their blood vessels.

Moreover, due to lack of written documentation on the early history of the anatomical machines, controversy continues about how they were actually made. Few medical studies were published, and they seem to be controversial and incomplete. Here we propose to address this controversy by combining different diagnostic hypotheses, a full contextualization of the historical background with historical and literary research.

Although many efforts need to be done in order to better understand the anatomical machines from a medical perspective, here we tell a different story and offer an insight into the world where the legends surrounding Sansevero and the models were originated.

Lucia Corrain, Ottavia Mosca

Museo di Palazzo Poggi, Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna, 

 

Anna Morandi: Bolognese ceroplastics between practice and theory

It is a woman, Anna Morandi (1714-1774), among the Bolognese wax modellers, together with her husband Giovanni Manzolini (1700-1755) and the illustrious Ercole Lelli (1702-1766) who touched the highest peaks of ceroplastics, making it a fully recognized and affirmed discipline.

The wax objects that Anna Morandi made are innovatively configured: they investigate the hidden mechanisms of the human body, even if their executional skill qualifies them as artworks before being didactic instruments. But if the finesse of the objects is of undoubted quality, it does not undermine their scientific value. Moreover, Morandi overcame the exclusively practical approach to dissection-transposition in wax giving a theoretical imprint to her activity. In the Catalogo delle preparazioni anatomiche in cera – preserved at the University Library of Bologna (Bub ms 2193) – the famous Bolognese anatomist described and explained her collection of objects, above all regarding the sense organs. Analysed in detail with effective words and a precise lexis they give rise to a treatise of anatomy whose iconographic endowment is made up of the waxes themselves.

The Catalogo, however, is also a rich source of information concerning the dissection of the bodies and the technique for the realization of the waxes themselves. Drafted with a concise syntax (short, linear phrases), deriving from live experimentation, it is not the result of simple watching, but of a careful observation “guided” by skilled hands. A proceeding from observation, through verbalisation, to transposition into sculpture; in short, a profitable circle that goes from dissection to the word up to the wax image and that evidences the specific didactic nature. The matching of objects and word potentially possesses the capacity to make the waxes even more “speaking”: the modern technologies can come to one’s aid with the aim of creating a so-called “iconotext”, a text in which the written considerations are integrated with the images of the objects that Morandi herself realized and that have come down to us and that are preserved in the Museum of Palazzo Poggi of the Alma Mater Studiorum.

Laura Cunningham

Collections and Conservation Centre for Museums and Heritage Services, City of Toronto, Canada.

Waxing and Waning: The Curious Case of an Early Department Store Wax Mannequin

The City of Toronto's Collections and Conservation Centre houses an extensive array of artifacts originating from the archives for the T. Eaton Company Limited, once Canada’s largest department store chain, including a curious wax mannequin – its head detached with a break at the neck. This mannequin (c. 1900) has a papier-mâché torso, wax head and neck, with glass eyes and hair individually inserted by hand.

Wax mannequins were first introduced by German manufacturers at the 1894 Paris Exposition and became popular in North American department store display windows, including Eaton's, by the turn of the century. Stories exist of mannequins slumped and melting – heads bowed – while on display after a hot summer weekend.

This paper briefly explores the history and use of wax mannequins at Eaton's through archival documents and photographs. It examines the manufacturing and hand finishing techniques used to create this mannequin, details of earlier repairs and includes an exploration on the results of testing on its wax composition. Finally, a review of current and past trends in the conservation of wax objects, with a focus on the development of a treatment plan for this unique collection item, will be discussed.

Bruno Lasters, Ann Van de Velde 1,6, Pascale Pollier 6,7, Francis Van Glabbeek 1,6, Robrecht van Hee 5, Marc Demolder 2,4, Daniël Ermens 3,4, Tom Deneire 4, Trudi Noordermeer 4

1 Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp 

2 Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences, University of Antwerp  

3 Faculty of Arts, Research Centre Ruusbroec Institute, University of Antwerp    

4 University of Antwerp Library 

5 Museum of the History of Health Sciences, Antwerp 

6 Biological and Medical Art Belgium BIOMAB 7 Art Researches Science International Collaborations ARSIC  

 

Ziegler‘s three-dimensional ceroplastic models in a young universities academic heritage collection  

Adolph and Friedrich Ziegler and their 19th and 20th century ‘Atelier für Wissenschaftliche Unterrichtsmodelle’ located in Freiburg achieved a high degree of perfection in three-dimensional ceroplastic models. Commissions came in from outside Freiburg for several series on embryology and neurologist Florence Sabin collaborated with Ziegler on an atlas of the medulla and midbrain. Only universities and important public and scientific institutions were allowed to place a buying-order. Their wax models were edited in series, every model showing a specific stage of development. Each series was labelled with the name of the species alongside the university professor involved in the scientific research including Ziegler himself.  Ziegler published prospectuses and regarded himself as a scientific visual art publisher just as a scientific book publisher would do. By doing so, he made his waxes academically authoritative and relevant. However, in the first quarter of the 20th century Embryology and Neurology were no longer only descriptive and moved into experimental sciences leading to a decline in the need for this kind of didactic material. For decades, Ziegler’s medical waxes were scattered for display in science museums and medical cabinets of doctors interested in the heritage of anatomical education. This was also the case of the Ziegler‘s three-dimensional ceroplastic models in Antwerp.  

In 2017 the University of Antwerp started the registration of its Academic Heritage as part of the Special Collections of the University Library. The University of Antwerp Library is a modern academic library, as well as a heritage library with a diverse collection of old prints, books, manuscripts, typescripts, etchings and lithographs. The Special Collections department manages these materials and also takes care of the Academic Heritage and the University’s Art Collection. Since 2011 the Special Collections have been digitizing objects from the collection, which can be consulted online through the library’s digital platform. At the moment there are more than 1800 editions available covering the History of Science. The collection of Academic Heritage at the University of Antwerp is versatile and diverse. It contains objects from all faculties and is preserved on the different campuses of the university. Together with the Library, the University Archives and the Art Collection, the Academic Heritage forms the memory of the University of Antwerp. The collection contains scientific instruments, wall charts, computers, medical equipment, geographical maps, slide projectors, minerals and stones, biological preparations, microscopes etc. By digitalizing educational objects they can be active parts of university courses and consulted for future online research by students. The Ziegler medical waxes can be a valuable addition to the current academic collection in Antwerp as they allow a new generation of students of Medicine, History and Art to have access to this historical important education material. Inspired by Sabin’s description of Ziegler and his work “a man with lots of mechanical ability; the model is going to be far better than I ever imagined”, this project, as part of the University of Antwerp’s Heritage Collection, integrates historical anatomical models in the modern era of experimental sciences.  

Cristin Millett

School of Visual Arts The Pennsylvania 

 

The Spectacle of the Anatomy Theater 

It is widely accepted that the production of realistic anatomical wax models for medical education commenced in the late 17th century. A thorough comprehension of anatomy was essential for these models to be created, a knowledge that could only be achieved through systematic human dissection. Our desire to understand the body and how it functions is a constant throughout history, yet concerted efforts to study cadavers through careful observation commenced during the anatomical Renaissance.   Initially, dissections were conducted in the homes of the faculty. By the 1500s, the practice of instructional dissection became the preferred method for the study of human anatomy. However, because of preservation problems with cadavers and widespread disapproval, dissections were rarely performed and were thus significant events. An architectural environment was designed to provide the opportunity for a large audience to observe the procedure. Such rooms were typically round, with the corpse placed in the center, surrounded by ascending concentric tiers of seats. The architecture of an anatomy theater creates a power relationship between the inhabitants of the space depending on their roles and locations in the theater. When in an anatomy theater, one has a heightened awareness of inequality among the occupants, and one’s role as “viewer” or “viewed” comes into question.  Whereas most scholars respond to their research through writing, as a visual artist, I express my critical analysis as works of art. I create architectural environments that are the outcome of my research on anatomical theaters across Europe and the United States, including the oldest surviving anatomy theater in the world at the University of Padua. In my installations, viewers walk through spaces that evoke physical, emotional, and psychological reactions like those experienced by audiences of the past. The realistic anatomical wax models discussed at this conference are the manifestation of the spectacle of the anatomy theater. 

A. Porro 1, P. M. Galimberti 2, Daniela Bellettati 2, Bruno Falconi 3, L. Lorusso 4, A. F. Franchini 1

1 Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche e di Comunità, Università degli Studi, Milano

2 Servizio Beni Culturali, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milano

3 Dipartimento di Specialità Medico Chirurgiche, Scienze Radiologiche e Sanità Pubblica, Università degli Studi, Brescia

4 ASST di Lecco, Merate (LC)

Scientific Ceroplasty in Milan: New Research Acquisitions

The Ospedale Maggiore in Milan, besides being the most important hospital in the Lombard capital, was for centuries the seat of hospital schools. The need to have scientific models available for the education of the students meant that over time wax models were made that referred to different medical and surgical disciplines. Many of them have been lost, some are preserved only documentary traces, others have come to us in whole or in part.

Milanese ceroplasty activity is attested for the artistic field, but the scientific one has been less studied.

The Authors are facing a reconnaissance both archival and museum and on this occasion present the results of a first phase of research. Five examples of "moulages" whose characteristics and stories are different have been identified: the first series, partially preserved, refers to wax models prepared in the Napoleonic era for the spread of smallpox vaccination; information on a second wax model of the Napoleonic period concerns a model of anatomy of the inner ear; the third series of wax models flowed into the Obstetrics School Museum in the mid-nineteenth century and only one waxmodel is preserved; the fourth series of wax models of pathological anatomy prepared in the mid-nineteenth century was completely lost sixty years ago; the last series of wax models is that of dermatological pathologies, prepared at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is the most important ceroplastic collection in Milan.

The panorama of scientific ceroplastics in Milan appears to be more complex and varied than previously assumed by medical historiography and deserves further study.

Nicolò Nicoli Aldini 1, Emanuele Armocida 2, Alessandro Ruggeri 3

1 Società Italiana di Storia della Medicina    

2 Università degli Studi di Parma 

3 Università degli Studi di Bologna

 

Anatomical wax modelling in modern Egypt: Leon Gatineau, his craft and his contribute to ceroplastic technique. 

Leon Gatineau (1871-1950) was a French odontologist that spent his professional career  in Egypt between the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century as  dental surgeon in the French Hospital at Cairo,  where he was also appointed as Wax Modeler because of his skill in this kind of anatomical preparations. Gatineau also gave his name to a manual of ceroplastic technique, addressed to dentists and dermatologists, which is perhaps, at least to our knowledge,  the only example of an educational book devoted to this kind of artistic and scientific representation. 

Gatineau resided permanently in Egypt for many decades (his name is listed in the “Mondain Egiptien - Egyptian who’s who” until at least 1939) and also took an interest for the ancient civilization on the Nile. For this reason he carried out archaeological excavations and research in collaboration with local authorities. Moreover thanks to his ability in ceroplastics, he also created wax models in which he reconstructed, on the basis of the found skulls, the hypothetical physiognomy of the native subject.

Sabina Carraro 1, Eva Åhrén 2.

1 Museum of Wax Moulages of the University Hospital and the University of Zurich

2 Unit for Medical History and Heritage, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

 

Recovering a forgotten collection: Unique moulages from Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm 

More than three hundred wax moulages from Karolinska Institutet’s teaching clinic for “dermatology and syphilology” survive until this day. They cover a wide range of diseases and conditions including lupus, vitiligo, impetigo and syphilis. The oldest ones date from the 1880s and the Paris dermatology clinic at Hôpital St Louis. The majority of the moulages were, however, manufactured by Evy Björling, a Swedish moulage maker from the southern town of Malmö, in the 1910s. Björling collaborated with her husband, a dermatologist. Her preserved moulages display a unique method, combining a thin layer of wax with a plaster base, which makes them both heavy and brittle – and a challenge to conserve. Another group of moulages from the 1920s were produced in Stockholm by Dr. M. Nelken, a student of Carl Henning’s in Vienna. Nelken made moulages for Johan Almkvist, professor of dermatology and syphilology at Karolinska Institutet. This group of moulages relate to patients at S:t Göran’s hospital and Stockholm’s Finsen Institute, where lupus patients were treated with light therapy.

 

This paper presents and discusses these historic moulages of skin lesions, situating them in international and local historical contexts. Since the Stockholm Museum of Medical History closed in 2005, the moulages are kept in storage together with the rest of the Museum’s collections. The paper also relates the first phase of a project combining scholarly research and conservation analysis of the moulage collection. We will describe the history of the collection as well as explore possible ways of reviving it. The project is a collaboration between the Museum of Wax Moulages in Zürich and the Unit for Medical History and Heritage at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm.

  

Nuria Galland, Nuria Díaz.

Palacio de la Escuela de Medicina, Facultad de medicina, UNAM

 

A capite ad calcem. Anatomical wax models become the face of a literary and multimedia project.

The case study discussed in the text posits some ideas about how the book entitled A capite ad calcem was conceived. The initial text evolved into a multimedia exhibit that sought to plunge visitors into a highly personal experience through an exposure to the realms of health and illness. Susan Sontag’s work Illness as Metaphor inspired the Palacio de Medicina team to undertake the ambitious project of photographing its vast assortment of items, including an important collection of anatomical wax models from the Vasseur-Tramond Workshop. The author used black and white photography to highlight the aesthetic features of the collection. 

A years-long partnership with prestigious photo editor Michael Zabé led to the creation of a volume that encourages readers to abandon their traditional passive role and become an active visitor strolling through the pages, observing the images and reflecting on the realms of health and illness from an anthropological perspective.

Following this approach, the Palacio de Medicina designed an exhibit that departed from the traditional encyclopedic vision and historical narrative of the original collection, to imbue in the pieces a new narrative that is conceived to mirror the audience’s notions on the subject.

This installation is made up of luminous pieces and projections that allow the visitor to become immersed in their own world as they are confronted with the experience of inhabiting another body. This text is meant to provide information on the way in which we applied new discursive strategies to revitalize our collection.

Michael Sticherling

Department of Dermatology/University Hospitals Erlangen, Germany

 

Dermatological moulages – the artists behind the objects

Moulages had their bloom around the turn of the 19th and 20th century when dermatology emanicapated from internal medicine as a speciality of its own rights. At many newly founded university hospitals moulage collections were established by purchasing wax objects from external studios or producing them on site by local coworkers, either medical personal, artisans or artists. Little is known, however, about their biography and education, especially for mouleurs other than renown Alfred Kröner from Breslau. The two German dermatological departments Kiel (North Germany) and Erlangen (state of Bavaria) still hold collections with currently 455 and 150 moulages respectively. Three local mouleurs Olga Harloff (born 1887 in Kiel, n=25), Ernst Saalborn (1893-1968, n=14) and Detlef Klein (1879-1962, n=31) contributed to the Kiel collection. Harloff worked as laboratory technician in the hospital and must have produced at least 61 moulages. She may have had contact to Kröner in Breslau and used a similar wax mixture as her moulages turned yellow in a similar way. In 1927 and 1928 Ernst Saalborn worked free-lance for the hospital and may have produced at least 18 objects. Finally, Detlef Klein who was born near Kiel left 31 moulages during his appointment as craftsman at the department between 1932 and 1935. In contrast, the Erlangen collections only contains external objects, 104 of those produced by the Munich based artist Hugo Emanuel Becher. His role and importance in moulaging has not been appreciated until recently. Based on artist encyclopedias, exhibition catalogs and art history magazines his biography could be reconstructed. After studies at art academies in Dresden, Munich and Paris he lived and worked in Dresden and Munich as a sculptor and painter. His way into moulaging is not known in detail neither where he learned the techniques.

Kimberly Johnson

Independent Art Historian, St Albert, Canada. 

The Skinless Body as Anatomical Coup: Phenomenology of Wax & Plastination

In the early modern period, spectacular anatomical ceroplasty was commissioned by influential members of society, at great expense, to cultivate their international reputations. Until the 20th century, wax remained unchallenged as the most stunning materiality for producing anatomical showpieces. In the 1980s, Gunther von Hagens created and patented his cadaver preservation technology called plastination. Unlike most full-length anatomical models, von Hagens would make the display of the structurally intact, preserved corpse body a reality. While some academic institutions have implemented their own laboratories and protocols, plastination is best known for its starring role in von Hagens’ internationally touring Body Worlds exhibitions. These installations present theatrically-posed, skinless, plastinated cadavers as the new crown jewels of anatomical collections—visually attempting to usurp the supremacy of wax anatomical models as scientific showpieces. Whereas the body of ceroplasty was anchored in mimesis and self-identification, the body of the exhibitionary skinless plastinate forces a total reorganization of sight that opposes our phenomenologically-lived experience. Body Worlds constructs an exhibition space where the visitor relies totally on von Hagens’ preservation technology, display rhetoric and interpretive program to understand their own lived body. Inside Body Worlds exhibitions, plastinates are positioned to create a dialogue with innovative digital technologies where the living imaged body reinforces von Hagens’ programmatic skinlessness. As the proportions of the exposed corpse body increase, the visitor is challenged to see themselves from without their own bodies, outside of their own skin. The popularity that Body Worlds exhibitions enjoy affords researchers an opportunity to examine the display practices of anatomical collections, ceroplastic and plastinate, and how our 21st century vision may be impacting not only the way in which we see ourselves but how we are being presented to ourselves. 

 

Posters

Laura Faustini 1, Stefania Lotti 1, Chiara Sali 2

1 Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine of the University of Florence

2 Fondazione Scienza e Tecnica of Florence

 

The teaching of Phytoparasitology in the collections of the Istituto Tecnico Toscano of Florence 

In 1850, the Grand-Duke Leopold II (1797-1870) founded in Florence the Istituto Tecnico Toscano, a place of technical and scientific education of young professionals who should have got updated with the economic and technological development of agriculture, crafts and industry.

This school had an extensive range of tools and books, which were carefully selected in order to provide the most up-to-date technical and scientific knowledge of the time: study material continued to be enriched, both in size and value, until the first decades of the twentieth century, forming now the collections of the Museo della Fondazione Scienza e Tecnica.

A special focus was on the advances in Agronomy and, in particular, in Phytoparasitology.

Students could enjoy access to the complete collection of the Giornale Agrario Toscano, a journal, founded in Florence in 1827, which dealt with the new methods of agricultural production, based on experiences carried out in Italy and in other European countries, such as France and Germany.

Besides the library, students could benefit from a series of wax models representing some pathogenic and phytophagous organisms.

These waxworks were made by the famous modeller Egisto Tortori (1829-1893) and illustrated the development cycles of some parasite species that could be highly harmful to plants, especially to grapevines and wheat, in order to show how to prevent infestation and damage to crops. 

These unique pieces, which were created specifically for the school since 1870, show also the developement of Tortori’s enlarged production, which had begun under the guidance of Luigi Calamai (1800-1851) and scientific supervision of Giovan Battista Amici (1786-1863) and Filippo Parlatore (1816-1877).

A. Emmi, V. Macchi, A. Porzionato, R. Boscolo Berto, C. Tortorella, V. Gabriele, R. De Caro

Section of Human Anatomy, Department of Neuroscience, University of Padua, Italy.

 

From Models to Dissections: The Anatomical Ceroplastics of the Institute of Human Anatomy

The Institute of Human Anatomy of the University of Padova holds a small repertoire of anatomical and embryological wax models belonging mainly, but not exclusively, to the Ziegler wax collections from the late 19th and early 20th century. As an invaluable educational instrument, the wax models of our collection are often presented to medical students in association with real anatomical specimen during lectures. 

The collection comprises, but is not limited to, the following series of models: early development of the chick, showcasing the embryological development of the animal from the first 18 hours to the 5th day of development; development of human embryos,  development of the convolutions of the human brain. Moreover, individual models showcasing the anatomy of the neck and the musculature of the tongue, along with other wax models. These ceroplastics will be presented in association to both plastinated and formalin-fixed specimen of the same anatomical structure in order to underline the accuracy of the representation and the didactic value of the preparations.

Orsini E. 1, Managlia A. 2, Zoli M. 3,4, Quaranta M. 1, Galassi F.M. 5, Manzoli L. 1, Leonardi L. 1,2

1. Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences, Human Anatomy section, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

2. University Museum Network (SMA), University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

3. Department of Neurosurgery, DIBINEM, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

4. Pituitary Unit - Center for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Hypothalamic and Pituitary Diseases, IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna, Bologna, Italy

5. Archaeology, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia.

 

The story of an intriguing palaeo-endocrinological case at the “Luigi Cattaneo” Anatomical Wax Collection in Bologna

The “Luigi Cattaneo” Anatomical Wax Collection in Bologna is located at the Anatomical Institute and is part of the University Museum Network (Sistema Museale di Ateneo). It hosts an astonishing catalogued collection of waxwork models, natural dried specimens and anatomical illustrations dating back to the 19th century. At that time, much emphasis was laid on pathological anatomy and the morphological analysis was seen as the strongest tool to investigate pathological condition and anomaly. Therefore, the anatomical cabinet was turned into a hive of scientific observations and experimental researches. Cesare Taruffi (1821 – 1902) was appointed professor of pathological anatomy (institutionalized in 1859) and conducted researches on numerous clinical cases according to a precise organizational modus operandi characteristic of the Bolognese School. Here we present one of these complete cases. In 1811 the wax modeler Pietro Sandri (the first who was officially appointed to this position) was commissioned to create a wax bust of an acromegalic patient (named Bottaro) while he was still alive. The ductility of wax allowed the reproduction of a life – size model characterized by a tremendous accuracy and a realistic representation of the normal and abnormal details (i.e. the beard made of actual hairs dipped into the wax and then trimmed, the typical facial widening features along with frontal bossing and prognathism). After patient died, the museum processed the body remains and put on display the anatomical demonstration samples, dry stomach, skull and skeleton. In 1879 professor Taruffi published in the official journal of the Accademia delle Scienze dell’Istituto di Bologna a scientific paper entitled “Scheletro con prosopoectasia e tredici vertebre dorsali”. The paper presented an extremely accurate description of skeleton and skull of this clinical case. Noteworthy are the use of cutting – edge anthropometric and anthropological methods and the extensive list of cited references. Attached a series of engraving by Cesare Bettini (1814 – 1885) showing a detailed correspondence with the bony specimens. Such an approach was effectively instrumental to document clinical cases of special or didactic interest and to create an immensely valuable scientific/artistic heritage that still continues up to the present.