The Lady Anatomist: The Life and
Work of Anna Morandi Manzolini

ISBN 978-0-2265-2081-0
© University of Chicago Press, 2010

Anna Morandi Manzolini (1714-74), a woman artist and scientist, surmounted meager origins and limited formal education to become one of the most acclaimed anatomical sculptors of the Enlightenment. The Lady Anatomist tells the story of her arresting life and times, in light of the intertwined histories of science, gender, and art that complicated her rise to fame in the eighteenth century.

Examining the details of Morandi's remarkable life, Rebecca Messbarger traces her intellectual trajectory from provincial artist to internationally renowned anatomical wax modeler for the University of Bologna's famous medical

school. Placing Morandi's work within its cultural and historical context, as well as in line with the Italian tradition of anatomical studies and design, Messbarger uncovers the messages contained within Morandi's wax inscriptions, part complex theories of the body and part poetry. Widely appealing to those with an interest in the tangled histories of art and the body, and including lavish, full-color reproductions of Morandi's work, The Lady Anatomist is a sophisticated biography of a true visionary.

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The Lady Anatomist: The Life and
Work of Anna Morandi Manzolini

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Critical Acclaim


"A pleasure to read, The Lady Anatomist allows us to view Morandi’s world while taking the reader through the extant corpus of her surviving work including her anatomical writings"
                        Paula Findlen, Stanford University

"This astonishing and greatly informative account . . . paints a rich canvas of the political, cultural, and scientific life of eighteenth-century Italy and Bologna specifically. . . . May this work have many readers!"
          Sabine Hildebrandt, The Journal of Clinical Investigation

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