Artificer and Connoisseur

Lucia Dacome

in Malleable Anatomies

Published in print June 2017 | ISBN: 9780198736189
Published online June 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191799914 | DOI:

Series: The Past and Present Book Series

Artificer and Connoisseur

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)
  • History of Science and Technology


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Chapter 2 follows the making and early viewing of the anatomy room at the Institute of the Sciences. The chapter focuses on the impressive career of Ercole Lelli (1702–1766), the Bolognese artificer and anatomical modeller who was in charge of its realization. It approaches the anatomy room as a multi-functional venue of anatomical pursuit and examines the variety of meanings associated with its models as well as its fashioning as a site for the training of the eye and the development of observational proficiency. Moreover, reconstructing Lelli’s manifold skills as an artisan and a broker, Chapter 2 examines how his involvement in the making of the anatomy room allowed Lelli to transform himself from harquebus maker into connoisseur. In particular, it investigates how Lelli relied on his manual and artisanal skills to act as a go-between across artisanal, anatomical, artistic, and antiquarian domains, ultimately fashioning himself as a connoisseur.

Keywords: Ercole Lelli; anatomy room; Institute of the Sciences; artisanal knowledge; artists; artificers; observation; connoisseurship; Bologna; Grand Tour

Chapter.  20675 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700) ; History of Science and Technology

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