David Soulier

Thanks to the Santorio Fellowship I could attend the 2019 CSMBR Summer School The Kiln, the Alembic and the Clockwork. Meetings such as these on the history of medicine and anatomy are rather hard to find nowadays, much more so those occurring in great places and gathering famous historians about the subject. That is why I was glad to receive this fellowship and to attend the CSMBR 2019 Summer School which dealt with the history of the different representations of the human body. Not only did the event take place at Pisa’s heart, more exactly in the beautiful Domus Comeliana (just below the Leaning Tower!), but also and especially because it grouped eminent scholars such as  Vivian NuttonHiro Hirai, and Fabiola Zurlini and other persons who were enthusiastic in talking, sharing, advising.

During the three-day event, I could realize how various methods of investigation can be in the same research field. I was very pleased sharing common ideas and purposes with experienced persons acknowledging the certain value of PhD students. I was honoured giving a short speech about a general subject which unexpectedly aroused the interest of some of the present audience.

The chief organizer of this event, Dr Fabrizio Bigotti, succeeded in demonstrating the importance of researching in the history of science, medicine and anatomy; he was always present to answer questions and give precious pieces of advice. This experience made me understand how one has to act in investigation and reflexion, in order to present things of some value and originality. I’m still surprised this meeting was, as far as I remember, some kind of club of and for the elite in anatomy history (in a villa typical of a first minister summer residence-like, fortunately, hidden to invading tourists).

I was very touched by the fact that Prof. Nutton thought about me by bringing and generously offering me a copy of his last book, and I was both astonished and happy when he expressed similar ideas and opinions on Galen and Vesalius when lecturing; also, I didn’t know how to thank Dr Zurlini for communicating the existence of a manuscript document about another great Renaissance anatomist.

Visiting the city at the end of a day together with the same respectful people, having a delicious lunch with them inside the Domus or in the city was a real and rare privilege. I was so happy feeling like at home at the Domus Comeliana that I wished the event to last a little longer – I was somewhat reluctant to say goodbye for the last time to the last participants before departing. The same impression also came from many other lecturers and participants with whom I shared a bunch of ideas.

David Soulier