Large hardback volume (32 x 42 cm), 208 pages, with approximately 120 mostly colour illustrations. It is printed using the most refined techniques on special 220 gram paper, specially made by the Cartiere Miliani of Fabriano. Entirely hand sewn and entirely bound in leather, th book is decorated with gold engraving and tooling, and protected by wooden boxes, finished in walnut and leather.
In the course of man’s history, no other subject has been the object of reflections, studies, experimentations and investigations more than medicine, to which we indeed owe the improvement of living conditions and the very survival of all mankind. Hence derives the enormous mass of publications concerning the many aspects of the medical profession, which constitute a tool for the advancement of a doctrine that translates into health and salvation. While so much is written about medicine, though, who deals with its artificer, the physician? The physician indeed represents a professional figure that for studies, traditions, and participation in society, occupies an important place in the Italian intellectual debate with an involvement that has left deep traces in every disciplinary sector: from poetry to short stories, from antiques to theatre, from the sciences to history, from non-fiction to collecting, to cite only a few of the most recurrent fields of action. This volume is an anthological reconnaissance of the physician’s presence in culture, literature, customs and art. There emerges an image in the round of a professional who, for the very characteristics of his work, occupies an important space, giving depth to the social and cultural environment in which he operates. Furthermore, the figure of the physician has been proposed through the centuries in infinite variations, indeed proving to be the profession most frequently translated into images, resulting in an iconographic wealth dating back to the most remote past. The book therefore contains a selection of stupendous images portraying the manifold aspects of the physician and medicine. From the miniatures of medieval codices to engravings by great artists, from popular depictions to sketches for the theatre and the opera, taken from often inedited originals, the illustrations give the work an unprecedented beauty and completeness. In short, the book celebrates the profession most present in the social and cultural reality and, even more, in the public imagination, but it especially celebrates the physician, his humanity, and many-sided participation in civil life. The mostly inedited iconographic sources come from the State National Archives, the Bargello National Museum, the Laurentian Library of Florence, the Civic Collection of the Bertarelli Prints of Milan, the Archives of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and have been taken from rare volumes or from originals preserved in private libraries and collections.
Ludovica Sebregondi is an art historian, and teaches at the School of Architecture of the University of Florence. Paolo Viti is tenured professor of medieval and humanistic Latin literature at the School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lecce. Raffaella Maria Zaccaria is State Archivist and historical-scientific researcher at the State Archive of Florence.
The work avails of authoritative presentations by Dr. Giuseppe Del Barone, President of the National Federation of the Orders of Physicians, Surgeons and Dentists, and Prof. Salvatore Italia, General Director at the Ministry for the Cultural Heritage, as further demonstration of the historical and scientific rigour underlying the work’s conception.