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SMA Sistema Museale di Ateneo

Comparative anatomy

Around the end of the 1780s, the preparation of wax models of animal anatomy began by Clemente Susini (1754-1814), the most famous waxworks master of the Florentine school.

However, it was with Luigi Calamai and Egisto Tortori, the last two modelers of the ceroplastic workshop in Florence, that the collection reached the peak of its development.

The Museum holds models of vertebrate and invertebrate animals (in the latter category of the animal kingdom falls 97% of the known species, which nonetheless remains a lesser-known group than vertebrates, i.e. Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals).

The works are kept in 65 display cabinets containing one to several pieces each. Animal models can be depicted dissected yet whole – as with Hermann's Tortoise, where the muscles of the limbs, the digestive, circulatory and female genital systems are shown. Other models, instead, take apart the animal into its anatomical parts - this is the case of a hen, whose lungs, ovary and the dilated oviduct with an egg close to being laid are shown.

Many models are life-size and others are even enlarged, such as the radulae of the molluscs and the anatomy of the silkworm.

 
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