Portraits of physicians and scientists


The library houses a wide collection of portraits of physicians and scientists. The approximately 880 photographic portraits, available in different formats, have been taken by important Italian and foreign studios and date back to the period between 19th and 20th centuries. These items are accompanied by about 600 photographs of paintings, drawings, engravings and other works of art pertaining to prominent figures in the history of medicine and physical, mathematical and natural sciences.

The existence of these collections is perhaps due to one of the main aims that our Institute had proposed to achieve since its foundation which is "to have an iconography of scientists". A great number of the portraits was certainly acquired to become the iconographic set for the biographical index of the Great catalogue which had been planned for the 1st National exhibition of the history of science (Florence, 1929) but never published.

In addition, there are about 350 portraits as engravings, litographs and drawings and a wide collection of portrait medals, which the Museum acquired in 1942 from Giovanni Aperlo and increased in the following years.

All of the materials have been catalogued and are available in digital version.


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