Padua, Biblioteca Medica Vincenzo Pinali, ms. Fanzago 2, I, 5, 28

Bartolomeo Squarcialupi - Libro de cauteri Facsimile Edition

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Restored within the framework of the project “Save a Manuscript” for the 43rd Congress of the International Society for the History of Medicine, chaired by Professor Giorgio Zanchin and held in Padua on 12 - 16 September 2012, the Libro de le experiençe che fa el cauterio del fuocho ne corpi umani by Bartolomeo Squarcialupi, a Paduan physician, is preserved at the “Vincenzo Pinali” Medical Library in Padua.

An intriguing medical treatise

It is a fascinating medical and surgical treatise that describes the practice of cauterisation, i.e. the application of hot irons (cauteries) on body parts presenting a wide range of diseases. The text is written in ancient Italian with Venetian elements, in the wake of other famous manuscripts that were produced in Padua under the rule of the Carraresi family during the late 14th and early 15th Centuries.

The drawings in this work are equally important and reveal that the unknown artist closely followed the Paduan pictorial tradition that was deeply influenced by Giotto.

The manuscript has been conventionally known as Libro or Trattato dei cauteri since 1908 when Giuseppe Albertotti published a first outline of it, referring to the title of the principal work mentioned on page 1v: Libro dele experience che fa el cauterio del fuocho ne corpi humani.

A patchwork of medicine

The current structure of the manuscript is an assemblage produced most likely in the 1800s by piecing together the remains of a large codex. The intention was evidently to create a work that was apparently “complete”; hence, it is possibile that loose pages were placed near text and illustrations presenting similar contents.

The manuscript contains three medical texts, all in vernacular Italian, with linguistic forms that can be traced to late 14th Century and early 15th Century Venetian, with the exception of the text contained on page 2rv, which seems to have Tuscan traits.


Binding description

Folder-like cover presumably made in the 19th century. Cardboard boards in parchment. Boards lined with green laid paper.

We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Bartolomeo Squarcialupi - Libro de cauteri": Libro del cauterio facsimile edition, published by Nova Charta, 2012

Libro del cauterio

Venice: Nova Charta, 2012

  • Commentary (English, Italian) by Zanchin, Giorgio; Granata, Leonardo; De Buzzaccarini, Vittoria; Tallandini, Laura; Mariani Canova, Giordana; Musajo Somma, Alfredo; Schiffini, Daria; Zanetti, Melania
  • Limited Edition: 199 copies
  • This facsimile is complete (full-size color reproduction of the whole original document).

The most precious manuscript that is preserved in the Vincenzo Pinali Library’s Antique Section, part of the School of Medicine at the University of Padua.

The book reproduces the precious illuminated text, providing a transcription of the same along with essays that analyse it from several specialised perspectives, both in terms of content and structure, in order to explain its presence in the Pinali Antica Library and School of Medicine by considering the history of the School that spans centuries and the typical symbols of this institution.

The manuscript is one of the many donations that have enriched the Pinali Antica Library, whose collection has grownespecially through the generosity and sense of belonging of Professors at the Medical School.

The edition come with both a paper and a digital version of the Restoration Notebook, which describes the features, language, contents and drawings of the manuscript.

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