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SMA Sistema Museale di Ateneo


The Museum of Natural History’s waxworks collection is famous throughout the world for its exceptional craftsmanship and extraordinary realism.

The master modellers, who were true artists, worked the wax with formidable skill, managing to reproduce full bodies and anatomical parts with a wealth of details that still arouse wonder.

People such as Gaetano Giulio Zumbo, Clemente Susini, Francesco Calenzuoli, Giuseppe Ricci, Luigi Calamai and Egisto Tortori produced a large number of waxworks dedicated to anatomy, pathology and comparative anatomy between the end of the 17th century and the middle of the 19th century.

The works of the Florentine wax modelling school were so popular they were requested by other Italian and European museums, ending up in Cagliari, Bologna, Pisa, Pavia, Modena, Montpellier, Budapest, Leiden and Vienna.

Indeed, Vienna holds the most important collection after the Florentine one, having been commissioned by Emperor Joseph II of Austria, brother of the Grand Duke Peter Leopold, for the military medical school that bore his name (Josephinum).

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