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Heirs of Hippocrates

The Development of Medicine in a Catalogue of Historic Books

Complete Record - Heirs of Hippocrates No. 1102

PAOLO MASCAGNI (1752-1815) Anatomia universa. Apud Nicolaum Capurro 1823-[1832] Text: [6] 10, 250, 162 [7] pp. 44 cm.; Atlas: 3 ll., 44 leaves of col. plates each with duplicate outline plate. 98.8 cm.

For more information on this author or work, see number: 1098

After Mascagni's death in 1815, manuscripts and sketches for three additional works were found among his papers. The first, an anatomy for artists, was edited by Mascagni's brother, Bernardo, and his grandson, Aurelio, and published at Florence in 1816. Unfortunately they both died soon after its publication and a group of individuals interested in the welfare of Mascagni's family undertook the publication of the other two works. Responsibility for editing these last two works was given to Antommarchi (see No. 1353), the physician who had been Mascagni's prosector and who had assisted in preparing the anatomy for artists. The second work, dealing with histological investigations on the anatomy of the human body, animals, and plants was published in two editions, one at Florence in 1819 and the other at Milan in 1821. Late in 1819, while Antommarchi was on St. Helena caring for Napoleon, differences between the group representing Mascagni's heirs and Antommarchi caused the group to institute a legal action which annulled their contract with Antommarchi. Their differences probably arose because the first two works had not sold very well. In 1822, rights to the third work, a large anatomy, were sold to Andrea Vaccá-Berlinghieri (1772-1826), Giacomo Barzellotti (1768-1839), and Giovanni Rosini (1776-1855)--professors on the faculty at Pisa. It was these three individuals who prepared the present work. In the meantime, Antommarchi, who had taken three sets of plates with him to St. Helena to prepare them for publication, disregarded the court ruling and published his own edition of the plates at Paris between 1823 and 1826 without giving any credit to Mascagni. The forty-five plates of the Antommarchi edition were produced by lithography and fall short technically of the excellent copper engravings in the present work. In addition, twenty-four figures in Mascagni's anatomy are omitted from Antommarchi's work. Each of the forty-four exquisite plates in the present work is hand-colored in the standard colors for representing anatomical structures--red, white, and blue. Each of the colored plates is also accompanied by a duplicate outline plate which contains nomenclature for identifying the anatomical parts from the accompanying volume of text. This copy has never been bound and is stored in a large wooden book-shaped box especially constructed for that purpose. The plates are so large that a man five and one-half feet tall can be composed if three of the plates are joined together. Many of the plates are signed by Antonio Serantoni, artist and engraver, while others have no signature at all and at least one plate names Joseph Canacci as engraver beside the artist, Serantoni. According to the editors, Mascagni delayed publishing this magnificent work because he was hoping that it would be possible to make his plates by means of the color print alone. The Anatomia universa is a complete and detailed work lacking only microscopic anatomy, histology, and the lymphatics of the skin. A series of plates includes the abdominal organs, pregnant uterus, placenta, and fetus.

See Related Record(s): 1353

Cited references: Choulant-Frank, pp. 318-319

Gift of John Martin, M.D.

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