The Lady Anatomist: The Life and Work of Anna Morandi by Rebecca Messbarger

By Rebecca Messbarger

Anna Morandi Manzolini (1714-74), a girl artist and scientist, surmounted meager origins and restricted formal schooling to develop into some of the most acclaimed anatomical sculptors of the Enlightenment. The woman Anatomist tells the tale of her arresting existence and instances, in mild of the intertwined histories of technological know-how, gender, and paintings that complex her upward thrust to status within the eighteenth century.

Examining the main points of Morandi's outstanding existence, Rebecca Messbarger strains her highbrow trajectory from provincial artist to the world over well known anatomical wax modeler for the collage of Bologna's well-known clinical institution. putting Morandi's paintings inside its cultural and old context, in addition to according to the Italian culture of anatomical experiences and layout, Messbarger uncovers the messages contained inside of Morandi's wax inscriptions, half complicated theories of the physique and half poetry. commonly attractive to these with an curiosity within the tangled histories of artwork and the physique, and together with lavish, full-color reproductions of Morandi's paintings, The girl Anatomist is a cosmopolitan biography of a real visionary.

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Extra resources for The Lady Anatomist: The Life and Work of Anna Morandi Manzolini

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The art historian William Heckscher has argued compellingly that the Public Anatomy should be read as the central act of a three-act morality play coproduced by church and state. Fixed characters, from criminal to executioner, cardinal legate to anatomist, acted out a set plot before a designated public of the powerful and, at times, popular classes. Performed in the first act was the capital execution of a criminal in the public square. The public dissection that comprised the second act meted out a contrappasso punishment against the body of the criminal, who had violated the body politic.

47 As will be seen, Benedict XIV also became a protector of Anna Morandi at a precarious moment in her anatomical career, just after the death of her husband, when her family’s financial distress heightened the possibility that another European city might lure her away. Thus was Pope Benedict XIV, as Cavazza has somewhat romantically described, “the deus ex machina who . . ’”48 Yet the exceptional institutional authority granted learned women during the Italian eighteenth century, authority unmatched anywhere else in Europe, was not confined to Bologna, but extended in varying degrees across the peninsula, where it was touted by civic leaders as a sign of their states’ Enlightenment social and scientific progress.

Courtesy of Museo di Palazzo Poggi, Università di Bologna. 48 · c h a p t e r o n e ornate faux-marble and glass armoires even more strongly suggested church reliquaries.

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