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Eva Åhrén
Swedish anatomists Anders and Gustaf Retzius, father and son, collaborated with artists, photographers, and printers to produce image plates for their many publications in normal, comparative, morbid, and microscopic anatomy. This article explores the role of images in their oeuvres, identifying impacts of changing scientific ideals, aesthetic sensibilities, and technologies of observation and visualization. It examines how the Retziuses mobilized historically contingent concepts of truth and beauty to support claims to authority...
2017: Nuncius
Carmela Morabito
While representing one of the most important developments in the knowledge of the brain, both for its theoretical advances and its medical consequences, the work of David Ferrier met with strong criticism from conservative circles in Victorian society. At the end of 19th century certain British neurologists and neurosurgeons – including Ferrier – faced vehement public attacks by those aristocrats who, under the banner of antivivisectionism and “natural theology”, expressed their fears of the reorganization of medicine into a scientific discipline...
2017: Nuncius
Mariacarla Gadebusch Bondio
This paper presents how rhinoplasty as a surgical technique with a particular social impact developed, and how motivated patients and courageous surgeons contributed to the process before Gaspare Tagliacozzi published his seminal work De curtorum chirurgia in 1597. The few sources that provide evidence of people having their noses reconstructed enable us to understand how this technique gradually spread across Europe from the south of Italy northwards. They also give information about the fate of some individual patients and their surgeons...
2017: Nuncius
Elena Canadelli
The historical catalogs of the museum collections contain a wealth of information for historians seeking to reconstruct their contents, how they were displayed and the ways in which they were used. This paper will present the complete transcription of a draft catalog that was prepared in 1797 for the Museum of Natural History and Antiquities of the University of Padua. Conserved in the university's Museum of Geology and Paleontology, the catalog was the first to be compiled of the museum, which was established in 1733 thanks to the donation by Antonio Vallisneri Jr...
2016: Nuncius
Sara Campanella
Ichthyological investigations and technological advancements, such as the laying of submarine telegraph cables, promoted new dredging methods in the second half of the 19th century. In contrast to the idea of a lifeless deep ocean (Edward Forbes' azoic hypothesis), the discovery of deep water fauna and the challenge of defining its systematics opened up new theoretical perspectives. In this frame, which was already marked by the impact of Darwin's theory, naturalistic surveys in freshwater environments in western Switzerland intertwined with those of oceanographic expeditions...
2016: Nuncius
Susana Gómez López
In his excellent work Anamorphoses ou perspectives curieuses (1955), Baltrusaitis concluded the chapter on catoptric anamorphosis with an allusion to the small engraving by Hans Tröschel (1585-1628) after Simon Vouet's drawing Eight satyrs observing an elephant reflected on a cylinder, the first known representation of a cylindrical anamorphosis made in Europe. This paper explores the Baroque intellectual and artistic context in which Vouet made his drawing, attempting to answer two central sets of questions...
2016: Nuncius
Eleanor Chan
The assumption that the Cartesian bête-machine is the invention of René Descartes (1596-1650) is rarely contested. Close examination of Descartes' texts proves that this is a concept founded not on the basis of his own writings, but a subsequent critical interpretation, which developed and began to dominate his work after his death. Descartes' Treatise on Man, published posthumously in two rival editions, Florentius Schuyl's Latin translation De Homine (1662), and Claude Clerselier's Traité de l'homme, has proved particularly problematic...
2016: Nuncius
Paolo Savoia
In 2012 a manuscript was rediscovered in the Biblioteca dell'Archiginnasio of Bologna, titled Libro degli infermi dell'Arciconfraternita di S. Maria della Morte. It is the record of incoming patients of one for the main hospitals of the city, devoted exclusively to the sick poor and not just to the poor, called Santa Maria della Morte, compiled by a young student assistant (astante) for the period 1558-1564. I publish here a transcription of a portion of this Libro pertaining to the year 1560. My introduction situates the manuscript within the context of the history of early modern Italian hospitals, describes the organization of the hospital of Santa Maria della Morte based on archival sources of the period, and finally highlights the connections between surgical and anatomical education and the internal organization of the hospital...
2016: Nuncius
Charles van den Heuvel, Scott B Weingart, Nils Spelt, Henk Nellen
Science in the early modern world depended on openness in scholarly communication. On the other hand, a web of commercial, political, and religious conflicts required broad measures of secrecy and confidentiality; similar measures were integral to scholarly rivalries and plagiarism. This paper analyzes confidentiality and secrecy in intellectual and technological knowledge exchange via letters and drawings. We argue that existing approaches to understanding knowledge exchange in early modern Europe--which focus on the Republic of Letters as a unified entity of corresponding scholars--can be improved upon by analyzing multilayered networks of communication...
2016: Nuncius
Cornelis J Schilt
When Isaac Newton died in 1727 he left a rich legacy in terms of draft manuscripts, encompassing a variety of topics: natural philosophy, mathematics, alchemy, theology, and chronology, as well as papers relating to his career at the Mint. One thing that immediately strikes us is the textuality of Newton's legacy: images are sparse. Regarding his scholarly endeavours we witness the same practice. Newton's extensive drafts on theology and chronology do not contain a single illustration or map. Today we have all of Newton's draft manuscripts as witnesses of his working methods, as well as access to a significant number of books from his own library...
2016: Nuncius
Sylvie Neven
In the Middle Ages and the premodern period knowledge of alchemical practices and materials was transmitted via collections of recipes often grouped concomitantly with art-technological instructions. In both alchemy and chemical technology particular importance is placed on artisanal and craft practices. Both are concerned with the description of colours. Both require procedures involving precise and specifically defined actions, prescriptions and ingredients. Assuming that alchemical and artistic texts have the same textual format, this raises the question: were they produced, diffused and read by the same people? This paper investigates the authorship and the context of production behind a sample of German alchemical manuscripts dating from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century...
2016: Nuncius
Riccarda Suitner
This paper, which presents first results of a wider book project, will reconstruct the influence of the so-called 'radical wing' of the Reformation, above all Anabaptism, Socinianism, and Antitrinitarism, on the tradition of natural philosophy that had established itself in particular in Veneto through the works of Pietro Pomponazzi, Agostino Nifo, and Giacomo Zabarella. Italian physicians and foreign students at the University of Padua developed theories that anticipated many scientific innovations of the 17th century (especially with regard to blood circulation)...
2016: Nuncius
Charlotte Bigg
The early astrophysicist Norman Lockyer was both editor of the journal Nature from its creation in 1869 and for the following five decades, and an early practioner of the new astronomy. He frequently used the journal to expound his scientific theories, report on his work and send news home while on expeditions. I look into the particular visual culture of astrophysics developed by Lockyer in Nature, its evolution at a time of rapid development both of the techniques of astrophysical observation and visualization and of the techniques of image reproduction in print...
2015: Nuncius
Elena Canadelli
The first exemplar of a kiwi, the wingless bird of New Zealand, arrived in the form of a lifeless specimen in Europe in 1812. A debate was sparked over the appearance and nature of this strange creature and indeed whether it actually existed. In 1833 the Transactions of the Zoological Society of London entered the debate and the illustrations published in this journal contributed greatly to the acceptance and further study of the kiwi. Some of the most eminent British zoologists and anatomists of the time were involved, from William Yarrell to Richard Owen, and from John Gould to Abraham Dee Bartlett...
2015: Nuncius
Maria Conforti
The Miscellanea Curiosa, sive Ephemeridum Medico-Physicarum Germanicarum, the learned periodical published in different German cities under the aegis of the Academia Leopoldina Naturae Curiosorum, contained many cases of an anatomical nature. The Miscellanea Curiosa in its first years actively participated in the development of anatomia practica, the anatomical practice of observing the signs of diseases in cadavers and connecting them to what had been observed at the bedside. The illustrations that accompanied the post-mortem reports published in the Miscellanea Curiosa allow one to assess the evolution of the pathological illustration itself...
2015: Nuncius
Meghan C Doherty
This paper examines the visual and verbal cross-pollination between the Philosophical Transactions and the Journal des Sçavans with a specific focus on the role of the visual as an open form of communication, which overcame the linguistic barriers implied by journals published in vernacular languages, rather than Latin. Studying the illustrated articles published in the two journals in 1666 highlights the ways in which the authors viewed the images as providing clarity to their prose and how the images provided access to useful information that was otherwise invisible...
2015: Nuncius
Maria Conforti, Jeanne Peiffer
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2015: Nuncius
Ileana Chinnici, Paolo Brenni
A manuscript by Georg and Sigmund Merz dated 1862 and containing instructions for assembling the equatorial telescope acquired by the Palermo Observatory is conserved in the archives of the Museo Astronomico e Copernicano in Rome. It is a rare document that reveals "tricks of the trade" and technical knowledge not usually included in textbooks or treatises. It was sent to the Palermo Observatory as an aid to the installation of the telescope, which made a signal contribution to the development of solar physics in Italy in the 19th century...
2015: Nuncius
Simone Bianchi, Daniele Galli
In the autumn of 1863 Otto Wilhelm Struve, director of the Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, visited most of the observatories in Italy. The report that he wrote on this occasion provides an overview on the conditions of astronomical research in Italyjust after the unification of the country. Later Struve sent a French translation of his report to the Italian astronomer Giovan Battista Donati, who used it to promote the construction of the Arcetri Observatory in Florence, which was inaugurated in 1872...
2015: Nuncius
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