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  • Writer's pictureBen Samuel

Wax anatomical models by Clemente Susini

Warning: This post contains images of anatomy that some may find disturbing

Clemente Susini (1754–1814)

These vividly accurate but macabre wax models were conceived as a means to teach human anatomy without the need for dissecting real human bodies. Susini's sculptures have been praised by doctors and artists alike.

Susini was chief modeller at the Natural History Museum in Florence (later was called La Specola). In 1780 Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor visited Florence, impressed by the models he saw there he ordered a set for teaching anatomy. Between 1781 and 1786, Susini created or oversaw the creation of about 1000 wax sculptures. These were carried by a train of mules over the Alps and down the Danube River to the Museum of the Medical University of Vienna to be exhibited. The models reside there to this day.

Over his lifetime Susini had made or supervised the creation of over 2,000 models.

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