Anna Morandi Manzolini (1714-74), a woman 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.