Wenrui Zhao

It is a great honour to be selected as one of the 2019 Santorio Fellows. The Santorio Fellowship for Medical Humanities and Science allowed me to travel to Pisa to attend the International Summer School The Kiln, the Alembic and the Clockwork: Early Modern Representations of the Body and its Changing Matter at the beautiful Domus Comeliana.


Being a Santorio Fellow has meant joining a group of outstanding scholars in history of medicine.

I am grateful for the help and encouragement I have received from many of them 

during and after the summer school.

Wenrui Zhao


In my dissertation, I investigate the ways in which the eye was studied, eye diseases were treated, and the knowledge of the eye was transmitted during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries mainly in the German-speaking lands. During this period, an increasing number of people from diverse social classes and professions engaged in studying the eye and its ailments, including surgeons, artisans, natural philosophers and princely rulers. The body of knowledge on vision they formed was both theoretical and practical, and they communicated it through a wide range of media, including texts, images and objects. I have benefited from multiple sessions at the summer school, such as the ones concerned with the theories of pathology, senses and perception, and the intersection of technology and medicine during the Renaissance.

I also want to thank Institutio Santoriana – Fondazione Comel and the Centre for the Study of Medicine and the Body in the Renaissance (CSMBR) for granting me the fellowship and for the support they have provided me with.

Wenrui Zhao