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

The Kiln, The Alembic, and The Clockwork

Early Modern Representations of the Body and its Changing Matter

International Summer School

29-31 March 2019, Domus Comeliana – Pisa

Organisers: Fabrizio Bigotti and Fabiola Zurlini


The summer school explores how the representation of the body and its functions changed from antiquity to the early modern period and how technology alters 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 illustrates the early modern imagery of the body in connection to different methods of investigation and their overlapping with disciplines such as alchemy and astronomy. Particular attention is devoted to the process of combination and concoction of humours (the kiln), distillation and perspiration (the alembic) and the mechanical action of innate heat (the clockwork). Each analogy is considered in relation to the impact it exerted on the Renaissance and early modern understanding of human physiology.

The summer school is open to students and scholars at all stages of their career. Sources and papers are pre-circulated in order for attendees to engage fruitfully in conversation with speakers in a roundtable at the end of the day. Small presentations (no longer than 5-7 min each) are also welcome.

The venue of the summer school is the Domus Comeliana with the programme available here.

Keynote Speakers: Vivian Nutton – First Moscow State Medical University

Hiro Hirai – Radboud University

Fabio Zampieri – University of Padua

Fabiola Zurlini – Studio Firmano for the History of Medicine and Science


Registration fee 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