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Bologne, Musée Aldrovandi

4 février 2013 @ 8 h 00 min - 4 février 2023 @ 17 h 00 min

| Gratuit

The Ulisse Aldro­vandi Museum


Both Lin­naeus (1707–78) and Buf­fon (1707–88) consi­de­red Bolo­gna native Ulisse Aldro­vandi (1522–1605) the foun­der of modern natu­ral history.

In 1554 Aldro­vandi began to teach at the uni­ver­sity as a lec­tor of logic and then phi­lo­so­phy. For the two-year per­iod of 1560–61 he was appoin­ted lec­tura phi­lo­so­phiae natu­ra­lis ordi­na­ria de fos­si­li­bus, plan­tis et ani­ma­li­bus or, in other words, the first pro­fes­sor of natu­ral sciences at the Uni­ver­sità di Bolo­gna. In 1568 he set up the bota­ni­cal gar­den, which was ini­tially situa­ted in the cour­tyard of the Palazzo Pub­blico, and ser­ved as its direc­tor until his death. With his pro­di­gious stu­dies and work, he legi­ti­mi­zed this new dis­ci­pline at the uni­ver­sity and hel­ped make Bolo­gna one of the lea­ding centres for natu­ral science research in Europe. Convin­ced that the advan­ce­ment of know­ledge could not stem solely from indi­vi­dual stu­dies, he began to col­la­bo­rate with Ita­lian and foreign scho­lars: famous scien­tists such as Pier Andrea Mat­tioli (1500–77), Kon­rad von Ges­ner (1516–65) and Caro­lus Clu­sius (1526–1609), as well as local phy­si­cians and phar­ma­cists, small col­lec­tors and those who were inter­es­ted in “natu­ral things”. The scope of Sto­ria Natu­rale is also attri­bu­table to these rela­tion­ships. A work com­po­sed of thir­teen volumes (only the three volumes of Orni­tho­lo­gia and the volume tit­led De ani­ma­li­bus insec­tis were publi­shed during the author’s life­time), it was the broa­dest and most detai­led des­crip­tion of the three natu­ral king­doms – mine­ral, plant and ani­mal – ever writ­ten until then.

The exchange of infor­ma­tion and mate­rials, as well as a net­work of contacts connec­ting Aldrovandi’s home in Bolo­gna to the Old and New Worlds, also contri­bu­ted to the esta­blish­ment of the museum also known as “theatre”, or “micro­cosm of nature”. The enor­mous task of cata­lo­guing nature, cou­pled with the ongoing and pains­ta­king veri­fi­ca­tion of nature’s des­crip­tions by ancient authors, implied first-hand obser­va­tion – “with one’s own eyes” – of “the things of nature”. Howe­ver, the world that ope­ned up to a scho­lar of the second half of the 16th cen­tury was deci­dedly broa­der and more varied than that of the ancients. Geo­gra­phi­cal dis­co­ve­ries were gra­dually revea­ling new natu­ral set­tings which were obviously beyond com­pre­hen­sive first-hand know­ledge. Since he was unable “to go to all places”, Aldro­vandi attemp­ted to recons­truct the natu­ral set­tings of all lands, near and far, inside his own home. Towards the end of his life, he proudly decla­red that he pos­ses­sed 18,000 “varie­ties of natu­ral things” and 7,000 “dried plants in 15 volumes”. This was an extra­or­di­na­rily rich col­lec­tion that, like those of other scho­lars such as Fran­cesco Cal­zo­lari (1522–1609) and Fer­rante Impe­rato (1550–1631), dif­fe­red from the ency­clo­pae­dic model typi­cal of the Kunst und Wun­der­kam­mern because of its clearly spe­cia­li­zed focus on natu­ral science.

The 17 volumes with thou­sands of illus­tra­tions of ani­mals, plants, mine­rals and mons­ters (now at the Biblio­teca Uni­ver­si­ta­ria di Bolo­gna) were a key com­ponent of the museum, as were the 14 cabi­nets, the Pina­cho­teche, contai­ning car­ved woo­den blocks used as wood­cuts to illus­trate prin­ted volumes (some are exhi­bi­ted in this room and the rest are at the Biblio­teca Uni­ver­si­ta­ria di Bologna).

Aldro­vandi was convin­ced that a com­plete and well-organized col­lec­tion of ani­mals, plants and mine­rals, com­po­sed of real spe­ci­mens or pic­tures, was indis­pen­sable for his research and tea­ching acti­vi­ties at the uni­ver­sity. Using a research method based mainly on the use of “one’s bodily eyes” in order to cor­rect the “thou­sands of errors” that, until then, had mar­red know­ledge of plants, ani­mals and mine­rals, Aldro­vandi gave illus­tra­tions and spe­ci­mens a cen­tral role in stu­dies in this field. Their pur­pose was to show “the things of nature” in their enti­rety and in opti­mum condi­tion, thus len­ding full scien­ti­fic vali­dity to the arte­facts exhi­bi­ted at the museum. These figures, exe­cu­ted in tem­pera or water­co­lour by a num­ber of artists, inclu­ding Jacopo Ligozzi, Gio­vanni Neri and Cor­ne­lio Schwindt, enabled Aldro­vandi to see nature in its enti­rety. Repro­du­ced as wood­cuts in the volumes of Sto­ria Natu­rale (thanks pri­ma­rily to the work of the engra­ver Cris­to­foro Corio­lano), these images made it pos­sible “to show” the spe­ci­mens to all rea­ders and thus illus­trate in a com­plete man­ner what was des­cri­bed in the text.

In his will, Aldro­vandi bequea­thed the museum and the entire scien­ti­fic col­lec­tion that he had accu­mu­la­ted throu­ghout his life to the Bolo­gna Senate, so that after his death all his work would be “use­ful and honou­rable to the city”. His bequest bears fur­ther wit­ness to the public dimen­sion that he had constantly given to his scien­ti­fic acti­vity. This public cha­rac­ter was inherent in the collection’s mis­sion “to aid and bene­fit man” and in the approach Aldro­vandi used to build and deve­lop it with the sup­port and col­la­bo­ra­tion of nume­rous scho­lars all over Europe.

In 1617 the museum was thus set up in six rooms at the Palazzo Pub­blico (now City Hall), where it remai­ned until 1742, when it was moved to the Ins­ti­tuto delle Scienze in Palazzo Poggi. Most of the col­lec­tion was dis­mant­led in the 19th cen­tury and dis­tri­bu­ted both to local and far away museums and libra­ries; part of the col­lec­tion was reas­sem­bled at its cur­rent venue in 1907.

Cette pré­sen­ta­tion du musée nous a été four­nie par le Musée Aldro­vandi. Nous remer­cions vive­ment Anna Addis, qui a rédigé ce texte, et Ful­vio Simoni, conser­va­teur des col­lec­tions, pour leur accueil cha­leu­reux et leur collaboration.

Pour voir les pho­tos des vitrines du musée Aldro­vandi, dont cer­taines sont publiées avec l’aimable auto­ri­sa­tion du musée, on peut visi­ter notre gale­rie .

Site de réfé­rence :
Wal­ter Tega (ed.), Guide to the Museo di Palazzo Poggi. Science and art,Bolo­gna, Edi­trice Com­po­si­tori, 2001.


Début :
4 février 2013 @ 8 h 00 min
Fin :
4 février 2023 @ 17 h 00 min
Prix :
Événément Category:


Palazzo Poggi
Via Zamboni 33
40126 BOLOGNA, Italy
Téléphone :
+39 051 20 99 398