Anna Morandi Manzolini

This time I would like to introduce the extraordinary anatomical wax model pioneer Anna Morandi Manzolini, who lived from 1714 to 1774 in Bologna, Italy.

She is seen as the forerunner of anatomical wax modelling and created numerous sculptures and depictions of bodies and body parts, all of which were based on direct observation in the anatomical theater. Married to a professor of anatomy, Manzolini was mainly regarded as her husband’s assistant. After his death she was, however, asked to teach in his place and was awarded the title of Professor of Anatomy from the University of Bologna. During her lifetime Manzolini gained international recognition for her scientific knowledge and artistic capabilities and dissected over 1,000 cadavers for her research.

One of her sculpture highlights (on view as part of her collection of wax models known as the Supellex Manzoliniana at the Institute of Sciences in Palazzo Poggi, Bologna) is a self-portrait bust depicting her dissecting a human skull and brain.

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