L'École de Médecine in Sienne

Napoleon and Paolo Mascagni, unusual protagonists of medicine in Siena

From 06 November 2015 to 03 April 2016

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The museum complex of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena, Italy - an ancient hospital of the Tuscan city, is housing a really interesting exhibition entitled 'L'ecole de Medecine a Sienne. Napoleon and Paolo Mascagni, unusual protagonists of medicine in Siena'.

This exhibition in Siena, open to the public until 3 April 2016, tells the story of the medicine in Siena through two important personalities linked to the Tuscan cities: the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and the great anatomist Paolo Mascagni, thanks to whom the Siena medical school in Italy survived the Napoleonic rule and gain considerable prestige.

Sponsored by the City of Siena within the program of Siena Italian Capital of Culture in 2015 and curated by Francesca Vannozzi and Alessandro Leoncini, this stunning exhibition in Siena at Santa Maria della scale in Siena boasts a display that reproduces the atmosphere of the famous ex- hospital, giving visitors a unique experience of its kind.

L'ecole de Medecine a Sienne' is one of the most awaited exhibitions in Siena 2016 for the occasion of the celebrations for the bicentenary of the death of Paolo Mascagni. This original art Siena exhibitions sees more than 100 works on display, including unpublished documents and medical instruments.

The exhibition in Siena is divided into four sections where you can admire old logs, letters and rare documents, discovered in recent times. Among these, there is a small but very important manual for physicians, with instructions on how to inject the smallpox vaccine, made at the first mass vaccination that took place in 1802.

By displaying many medical instruments - stretchers, obstetricians chalks, funnels, rolls and curious ancient glasses - the halls of the Museum of the Santa Maria della Scala in Tuscany have been transformed into the environment of the old hospital, with its long lanes, the operating room , various workshops, a delivery room and its pharmacy.
In short, a faithful reconstruction that will accompany visitors through a journey into the past in one of its most important and evocative places. Among the current exhibitions of Siena in Italy do not miss 'L'ecole de Medecine à Sienne. Napoleon and Paolo Mascagni, unusual protagonists of medicine in Siena'!

But what is the common thread that led to the creation of this extraordinary Santa Maria della Scala exhibition? Surely the will to know and remember the history of the Medical School, which kept, throughout the Napoleonic period, an excellent educational, scientific and operational level, thanks to the famous anatomist and illustrator Paolo Mascagni, who taught in the Siena area until 1799.

It was during his stay in Siena that Mascagni gained notoriety worldwide, thanks to his knowledge and his innovative ideas. We speak, for example, about his first description on the lymphatic system and the publication of his first illustrated works related to these themes, that opened the doors to the modern anatomical iconography works.
Also in Siena, Mascagni held his first course in anatomy, firmly convinced that dissection was an essential tool for medical students to discover the mysteries of the human body.

Although during the French occupation in Tuscany Mascagni was removed from Siena as a political opponent because of his adherence to the Jacobin movement, his philosophy and teaching continued through his 'disciples' who followed faithfully in the footsteps of their Master.

Siena exhibitions at the Santa Maria della Scala Museum is proud to present 'L'ecole de Medecine a Sienne'. Napoleon and Paolo Mascagni, unusual protagonists of medicine in Siena', an exhibition that highlights the will, the commitment and the courage with which the University of Siena, tested during the Napoleonic period, was able to recover and keep intact the prestige acquired over time, thanks to the presence in the city of one of the largest hospitals in Europe.

The opening of the exhibition in Siena 'L'ecole de Medecine a Sienne' - included in the program of Siena exhibitions at Santa Maria della Scala Museum - coincides with the 'medical museology Days' organized by SISM (Italian Society of History and Medicine) at the' University of Siena. The theme chosen this year, 'The collections of graphic materials for medical teaching (in the XV-XX centuries), wants to emphasize the importance of the presence of Mascagni in Siena and the inestimable value that his illustrations have had on the history of teaching and studying of anatomy. The boards he made - containing the representation of the human body as a life-size portrait on the autopsy table from various perspectives - were something totally new compared to traditional anatomical drawings used until then.

'L'ecole de Medecine in Sienne' and the days of study promoted by SISM represent a good opportunity to introduce to the public the history of the Siena medical school and the progress of the studies in a subject that has always had great success both in the scientific and publishing fields.

Among the exhibitions in Siena visit 'L'ecole de Medecine a Sienne. Napoleon and Paolo Mascagni, unusual protagonists of medicine in Siena', housed in the Santa Maria della Scala Museum until 3 April 2016: the history of medicine as you have never seen before!

If you have extra time available, we suggest you visit the beautiful city of Siena with its magnificent Piazza del Campo in the shape of a shell, the Mangia Tower, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and its many other places that should not be missed!
If you also want to discover the surrounding area, see 'Tour in Tuscany' on our website and our proposals to discover all the gems of this amazing region!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff