Poetry and Teratology: Lorenzo Mascheroni's "Invito a Lesbia Cidonia" in Anatomical Preparations

Carla Garbarino, Valentina Cani, Stefano Maretti, Paolo Mazzarello


In 1793 Lorenzo Mascheroni, appointed to the chair of Mathematics at the University of Pavia and well-known poet, wrote Linvito di Dafni Orobiano a Lesbia Cidonia. In the poem he described the beauty of the University of Pavia and its wonders gathered in the scientific collections of the museums. From the beginning, one of the glass cases of the Museum for the History of the University of Pavia shows some of the preparations described in the Mascheronis verses. In addition to some fossils, human teratological preparations are also exposed: they recall the verses of the poem dedicated to the description of monstrous preparations. However, after a detailed scientific and historical research, the traditional association of the exposed anatomical preparations with the verses is questioned.

Key words: Università di Pavia - Lorenzo Mascheroni Teratologia - invito a Lesbia Cidonia

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