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Wax male anatomical figure showing the muscles of the body, Italy, 1776-1780

The skin has been removed from this male anatomical wax model to show the muscles and the bones of the legs and arms. This model is part of a series showing the internal structures of the body. The life-size versions were used in the Zoological Museum of the University of Florence, known as La Specola, by the Grand Duke of Tuscany to teach students anatomy. The series of models was probably made by Clemente Susini (1754-1814), a wax modeller renowned for his accurate anatomical detail. Models were particularly important at a time when there were few bodies available for dissection; those that were available were difficult to preserve. Models could also be used to pick out and emphasise certain features, in this case the muscles.

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Glossary: anatomical figure

Highly detailed models of the full human figure for artists, teachers and medical practitioners.

Glossary: anatomy

A branch of medical science concerned with the structure of living organisms.

Glossary: dissection

The cutting apart and separation of body tissues for the purposes of critical examination. Dissection of corpses is often carried out for the study of anatomy.