The Kiln, The Alembic, and the Clockwork

CSMBR Summer Schools

The Kiln, the Alembic,
and the Clockwork

Early Modern Representations of the Body and its Changing Matter

29-31 March 2019

Organised by

Fabrizio Bigotti

Keynote Speakers
Vivian Nutton
Hiro Hirai, Fabio Zampieri,
Fabiola Zurlini
Click to download the poster

Summer School Themes

The Representation of the Body from Antiquity to the Early Modern Period

Technological Models of Bodily Functions: Meaning and Implications

How Technology Alters Human Self-Perception

Transformation of bodily matter in alchemy.


Click to download the programme

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.

Santorio Fellowship 2019

The International Summer School runs along with the 2019 edition of the Santorio Fellowship for Medical Humanities and Science, which will be advertised separately.

The scheme offers travel grants to attend CSMBR summer schools aiming at encouraging cooperation amongst scholars across Europe and Worldwide. Five Santorio Fellowships, worth €500 each, will be offered throughout as a gratuity to join the summer school by means of an application process.

Selected applicants will attend the Summer School for free and will receive a travel grant of €300.
Applicants must send a Cover Letter, a copy of their CV (2 pages max.) and a Referee Letter to by the 30th of June 2018.
Winners will be notified by mid-July 2018.
Dates: 29-31 March
Venue: Domvs Comeliana
Registration Deadline: 31 January
Registration Fees
 € 244
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Scientific Direction:
Fabrizio Bigotti
General Coordination:
Tomaso M. Pedrotti Dell’Acqua