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Special Communication
November 2013

Surgery, Pathology, and Art in Pietro Gradenigo’s Ophthalmologic Waxworks

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Cardiac, Thoracic, and Vascular Sciences, Section of Medical Humanities, Padua University Medical School

Copyright 2013 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Ophthalmol. 2013;131(11):1474-1475. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2013.2403

Pietro Gradenigo (1831-1904) represents one of the greatest eras of cultural and scientific activity in Italian ophthalmology. Padua’s Vincenzo Pinali Medico-historical Library preserves 2 series of ophthalmologic wax models. Made by Pietro Gradenigo in 1884-1889, the first consists of 18 waxes and shows different eyes diseases, such as neoplasm and tenonitis, and ophthalmologic surgical operations, such as some interesting cases of blepharoplasty. The second series from Vienna Medical School was created by Johann Hofmayer, ophthalmologist of the Josephinum in Vienna. The ideas at the foundation of wax modeling and operations represented in these series have some original and significant implications related to the role of medical imaging in didactic and research.