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International Summer School 2018 - Centre for the Study of Medicine and the Body in the Renaissance - CSMBR

CSMBR International Summer School

The Kiln, The Alembic, And The Clockwork

Early Modern Representations of the Body and its Changing Matter

29-31 March 2019, Domus Comeliana – Pisa

Organisers: Fabrizio Bigotti; Fabiola Zurlini


The summer school will explore how the representation of the body and its functions changed from antiquity to the early modern period and how technology altered the perception of what we are as human animals. By adopting three of the most iconic analogies ever used in the history of medicine to represent the human body, The Kiln, the Alembic, and the Clockwork will explore the early modern imagery of the body in connection to the methods of investigation and its overlapping with disciplines such as alchemy and astronomy. Particular attention will be devoted to processes such as the combination and the concoction of humours (the kiln), distillation and perspiration (the alembic) and the mechanical action of innate heat (the clockwork) whilst considering, for each analogy, the visual impact it exerted on the Renaissance and early modern representation of human physiology.

The summer school is open to students and scholars who wish to deepen their knowledge of history of medicine and its connection to other disciplines of knowledge in the early modern period. Sources and papers will be pre-circulated in order for attendees to engage fruitfully in conversation with speakers in a roundtable at the end of the day.

The Summer School will be held in the outstanding location of Domus Comeliana in Piazza dei Miracoli (Pisa) with the provisional programme available here.


Vivian Nutton – First Moscow State Medical University
Hiro Hirai – Radboud University
Fabrizio Bigotti – University of Exeter
Fabio Zampieri University of Padua
Fabiola Zurlini – Studio Firmano for the History of Medicine and Science


CSMBR International Summer School – Flyer

Registration fee to attend the Summer School is €244 and includes the cost of all breaks and lunches.

Payment can be made via Bank Transfer  (IBAN: IT 93 M 03268 01605 052882315420 – BIC/SWIFT: SELBIT 2BXXX) with the specification CSMBR Summer School by the registration deadline of 31 January 2019.

For information and details please contact csmbr@fondazionecomel.org or f.bigotti@exeter.ac.uk