Anna Morandi Manzolini (1714-74), an artist and scientist, surmounted meager origins and limited formal education to become one of the most acclaimed anatomical sculptors of the Enlightenment. "The Lady Anatomist" tells the story of her arresting life and times, in light of the intertwined histories of science, gender, and art that complicated her rise to fame in the eighteenth century. Examining the details of Morandi's remarkable life, Rebecca Messbarger traces her intellectual trajectory from provincial artist to internationally renowned anatomical wax modeler for the University of Bologna's famous medical school. Placing Morandi's work within its cultural and historical context, as well as in line with the Italian tradition of anatomical studies and design, Messbarger uncovers the messages contained within Morandi's wax inscriptions, part complex theories of the body and part poetry. Widely appealing to those with an interest in the tangled histories of art and the body, and including lavish, full-color reproductions of Morandi's work, "The Lady Anatomist" is a sophisticated biography of a true visionary.
Rebecca Messbarger is associate professor in romance languages at Washington University in St. Louis and coeditor and cotranslator of The Contest for Knowledge: Debates over Women's Learning in Eighteenth-Century Italy, also published by the University of Chicago Press.