International Summer School Pisa – Early Modern Representations of the Body and its Changing Matter

The Centre for the Study of Medicine and the Body in the Renaissance (CSMBR) in cooperation with Fondazione Comel–Institutio Santoriana, University of Padua and Studio Firmano for the History of Medicine and Science is pleased to announce an International Summer School

The Kiln, the Alembic, and the Clockwork
Early Modern Representations of the Body and its Changing Matter

Pisa, 8-10 August 2018

Organised by Fabrizio Bigotti & Fabiola Zurlini

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Vivian Nutton (First Moscow State Medical University)
  • Hiro Hirai (Radboud University)
  • Fabrizio Bigotti (University of Exeter)
  • Fabio Zampieri (University of Padua)
  • Fabiola Zurlini (Studio Firmano for the History of Medicine and Science)

The Summer School will explore how representations of the body and its functions changed from antiquity to the early modern period and how technology altered the perception of what we are as human animals. By adopting three of the most iconic analogies ever used in the history of medicine, The Kiln, the Alembic, and the Clockwork will explore the early modern imagery of the body, in connection to the methods of investigation and its overlapping with disciplines such as alchemy and astronomy. Particular attention will be devoted to processes such as the ‘combination and the concoction of humours’ (the Kiln), ‘distillation, spirits refinement and perspiration’ (the Alembic), and the ‘mechanical action of innate heat’ (the Clockwork) whilst considering, for each analogy, the visual impact it exerted on the Renaissance and early modern representations of human physiology.

The summer school is directed to undergraduates, postgraduates as well as PhD students wishing to deepen their knowledge of the history of medicine and its connection to other disciplines of knowledge in the early modern period. Sources and papers will be pre-circulated in order for attendees to engage fruitfully in conversation with speakers and in a roundtable at the end of each day.

The location of the event is the outstanding DOMVS COMELIANA in Piazza dei Miracoli (Pisa). The provisional programme of the event is already available at

Registration fee to attend the Summer School is €244 and includes the cost of all breaks and lunches. Payment can be made directly to Fondazione Comel via Bank Transfer with the specification “CSMBR 2018” by the registration deadline of Saturday 30th June 2018. For information and details please contact or

Santorio Fellowship 2018

The International Summer School runs along with the 2018 edition of the Santorio Fellowship for Medical Humanities and Science, which will be advertised separately. Selected winners 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.

For information and details, please visit or contact Dr Fabrizio Bigotti at