The Pope's Anatomy Museum

in The Lady Anatomist

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780226520810
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226520841 | DOI:
The Pope's Anatomy Museum

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter, which reports the story of Pope Benedict XIV's Anatomy Museum as a frame for the origins and distinctions of Anna Morandi's anatomical practice, explores the sanctioned visions of the body and femininity in Bologna's principal dissection scenes, real and virtual. The museum artfully incorporated the spectacle, symbolism, and science of Bologna's Carnival Dissection. Benedict XIV became a protector of Anna Morandi at a precarious moment in her anatomical career. Sexual difference was a defining theme of the museum. Ercole Lelli's idealized vision of the body proclaimed the truth value of anatomical sculpture in its exacting replication of nature and in its classical aesthetic and moral effect. Morandi's expert lessons transported the anatomized body from the ghostly gloom of the Carnival Dissection into the clear light of the scientific laboratory.

Keywords: Anna Morandi; Anatomy Museum; Pope Benedict XIV; Bologna; Carnival Dissection; Ercole Lelli

Chapter.  10163 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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