Wax and terracotta anatomical models
The twenty-one wax obstetric models on display at the Museum were commissioned by Felice Fontana from the sculptor Giuseppe Ferrini and his assistant Clemente Susini after 1771, when Fontana was setting up the Museo di Fisica e Storia Naturale in "La Specola" in Florence. With time, however, the opinion came to prevail that the Museum waxworks should display only normal anatomical preparations. As a result, the waxes depicting pathological childbirth and monstrous fetuses were transferred in December 1817 to the Ospedale degli Innocenti, where a maternity ward and a midwife training school had opened.
The forty terracotta obstetric models were commissioned between 1770 and 1775 by Giuseppe Galletti, who taught obstetrical practice at the Ospedale di Santa Maria Nuova. The terracotta models were based on the illustrations in the most famous obstetrical treatises of the time. In 1785, Galletti's collection of waxes, which also included some now lost models, was purchased by the Ospedale di Santa Maria Nuova. In 1939, the obstetric waxes and terracotta models belonging to Florentine maternity wards were assembled at the Villa Blow, near the city. After the war, they were transferred to the Museo di Storia della Scienza.
Last update 23/feb/2008