The waxworks collections retain five precious seventeenth-century wax models by the Sicilian abbot Gaetano Giulio Zumbo, a forerunner in the use of wax in anatomical representations.
The University Museum System preserves the works "Trionfo del tempo" (Triumph of time), "La pestilenza” (Pestilence), "Morbo Gallico" (Gallic disease), "Vanità della grandezza umana" (Vanity of human grandeur), "Testa scorticata" (Flayed head).
Zumbo's narration through his waxworks recalls the challenges of life in the seventeenth century, a period struck by recurring waves of plague and syphilis. The five wax models preserved in the collections of the Museum are a historical and artistic testimony, appreciated all over the world.
Another precious work by Zumbo – an anatomical wax model of a head – is preserved in Paris at the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle.
Head of collection Claudia Corti
Learn more on Gaetano Zumbo’s Wax Models (English text at the bottom of the pages)
Poggesi, M., The anatomical wax collection (pages 81-85), in: Barsanti, G. e Chelazzi, G. (eds), 2009. "Il Museo di Storia Naturale dell’Università degli Studi di Firenze: Le collezioni della Specola: zoologia e cere anatomiche", Firenze University Press