Anatomical Theatre of the Archiginnasio


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One of the main memories of the ancient medical school in Bologna is the Anatomical theatre, in the magnificent Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio, the first unified seat of the University of Bologna. The palace was built in a very few months, between 1562 and 1563, by order of Saint Charles Borromeo, then pontifical legate in Bologna. A first anatomical theatre was constructed in 1595, in a different position of the palace, but in 1636 it was replaced by a bigger one in the definitive and actual location. Getting across successive enrichments, the theatre – completely made with spruce wood – reached its final shape and beauty between 1733 and 1736. In this period, Silvestro Giannotti carved the wooden statues which decorate the theatre walls. They represent some famous physicians of the old times (Hippocrates, Galenus, etc.) and of the local athenaeum (Mondino de Liuzzi, Gasparo Tagliacozzi, etc.). The two famous statues of the “Spellati” (skinned) carrying the canopy surmounting the teachers’s chair, are work of the well-known artist of anatomical wax displays, Ercole Lelli. In the centre of the theatre stands the white table on which the dissection of human or animal bodies took place.The theatre was almost completely destroyed during the Second World War, by an air raid on the January 29, 1944. After the war, the Theatre has been very carefully reconstructed, using all of the original pieces possibly recovered among the rubble of the building.

Some images of the Anatomical theatre

Image:Anatomical theatre of the Archiginnasio, Bologna, Italy - the teacher's chair and the Spellati (skinned).JPG| the teacher's chair and the statues of the ‘Spellati’ (skinned) Image:Anatomical theatre of the Archiginnasio, Bologna, Italy - the dissection table.JPG|the dissection table Image:Anatomical theatre of the Archiginnasio, Bologna, Italy - the statue of Apollo on the ceiling.JPG| the statue of Apollo on the ceiling Image:Anatomical theatre of the Archiginnasio, Bologna, Italy - the statue of Hippocrates.JPG| the statue of Hippocrates Image:Anatomical theatre of the Archiginnasio, Bologna, Italy - the statue of Galenus.JPG| the statue of Galenus Image:Anatomical theatre of the Archiginnasio, Bologna, Italy - the statue of Mondino de Liuzzi.JPG | the statue of Mondino de Liuzzi Image:Anatomical theatre of the Archiginnasio, Bologna, Italy - after the bombing.JPG | after the bombing in 1944 Image:The Archiginnasio, Bologna, Italy, the wing with the Anatomical theatre.JPG | the wing of the palace with the Anatomical theatre, today


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