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Art & Design

Written by Helen van Raaij

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18th century wax anatomy

Paolo Mascagni was born in Italy and studied physics and medicine at the University of Siena. Mascagni is most known for his detailed description of the lymphatic system. In 1782 he even employed a Italian sculptor, Clemente Susini, to make life sized wax figures of the discoveries he made of the lymphatic system.

Clemente Susini had been creating wax figures from an early age, and had been working with other anatomists before. He did not dissect the anatomic specimens himself, but copied the cadavers dissected by the anatomists into 3-D wax figures.

The wax figures were used in workshops and the University to teach students the anatomy and physiology of the human body. Ofcourse, his models did not stay unnoticed and they were exhibited in several museums in Europe. His work can still be seen in museums today.   

By the time Susini passed away in 1814, his complete collection contained over a thousand wax models.

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Tags: Wax, Lymphatic system

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