Illustrating Pathologies in the First Years of the Miscellanea Curiosa, 1670–1687

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The Miscellanea Curiosa, sive Ephemeridum Medico-Physicarum Germanicarum, the learned periodical published in different German cities under the aegis of the Academia Leopoldina Naturae Curiosorum, contained many cases of an anatomical nature. The Miscellanea Curiosa in its first years actively participated in the development of anatomia practica, the anatomical practice of observing the signs of diseases in cadavers and connecting them to what had been observed at the bedside. The illustrations that accompanied the post-mortem reports published in the Miscellanea Curiosa allow one to assess the evolution of the pathological illustration itself. This article is thus intended to serve as a contribution to the rediscovery of the origins of this visual genre. A learned journal like the Miscellanea Curiosa, which appeared regularly, provided an ideal venue for the process of accumulating, cross-referencing and – in the final analysis – selecting, serializing and systematizing the knowledge that would form the foundations of modern pathology, by providing a wealth of evidence and images observed at the dissection table.


Journal of the Material and Visual History of Science (Formerly: Annali dell'Istituto e Museo di storia della scienza di Firenze)




Gianna Pomata, “Sharing Cases: The Observationes in Early Modern Medicine,” Early Science and Medicine, 2010, 15:193–236.


Lorraine Daston and Katharine Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature: 1150–1750 (New York: Zone Books, 1998), p. 202.


Martin Kemp, “ ‘The mark of truth’: Looking and Learning in some Anatomical Illustrations from the Renaissance and Eighteenth Century,” in Medicine and the Five Senses, edited by William F. Bynum, Roy Porter (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 85–121; William Louis Strauss jr. and Owsei Temkin, “Vesalius and the Problem of Variability,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 1943, 14:609–633; Nancy Siraisi, “Vesalius and Human Diversity in ‘De humani corporis fabrica’,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 1994, 57:60–88. On the complex layers of meaning in the early modern anatomical imagery, David L. Martin, Curious Visions of Modernity (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press 2011).


Ibid., “concessa mihi ab Eminentissimo Clementissimoque Domino meo vulneris istius post mortem investigatio,” p. 226.


See e.g. Domenico Bertoloni Meli, “Blood, Monsters, and Necessity in Malpighi’s De Polypo Cordis,” Medical History, 2001, 45:511–522.


Ibid., p. 28.


  • Figure 1

    Andreas Cleyer, “De S. Thomae Christianis Indiae Or. pedibus strumosis,” 1684

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  • Figure 2

    Georg. Wolf. Wedel, “de Tumore femoris monstroso,” 1672

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  • Figure 3

    Matth. Franc. Hertodius, “Alvi difficultatis nova causa,” 1670

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  • Figure 4

    Urban Hiärne, “De Anatome viri pro hydropico habiti,” 1676

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  • Figure 5

    Sebastian Scheffer, “De exsecta prope uvulam carnea excrescentia,” 1683

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  • Figure 6

    Christian Mentzel, “De Vulnere ventriculi ultra undecim annos aperto, superstite viro,” 1687

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  • Figure 7

    Christian F. Paullini, “Vulva marsupio quasi carnoso contenta & obvoluta,” 1687

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  • Figure 8

    Paul Jalon, “De urinae incontinentia,” 1684

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  • Figure 9

    Georg Abraham Merclin, “De Ossiculis, in trunco Arteriae magnae descendente, & utroque Caeliaco ramo, repertis,” 1682

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  • Figure 10

    Chr. Ludovicus Gockel, “De vesica spongiosa extra abdomen posita cum defectu penis,” 1687

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  • Figure 11

    Joh. Georgius Greiselius, “Anatome monstri gemellorum humanorum,” 1670

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  • Figure 12

    Mauritius Hoffmannus, “Anatome partus cerebro carentes,” 1671

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  • Figure 13

    Johannes Schmidt, “De monstro feminini sexus,” 1677

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  • Figure 14

    Lucas Schroeck, “De Gravidae Symptomatibus Singularium et Partu Gemellorum Monstroso,” 1680

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  • Figure 15

    Johann Moritz Hoffmann, “De Monstro gemello,” 1685

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