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Ophthalmological Numismatics
April 11, 2011

Antonio Scarpa

Arch Ophthalmol. 2011;129(4):428. doi:10.1001/archophthalmol.2011.47

A brilliant anatomist and surgeon, Antonio Scarpa (1752-1832) received his medical degree at the University of Padua when he was 18 years of age; at age 20 years, he was elected full professor of anatomy and theoretical surgery at the University of Modena. There, with backing from Duke Franz III, he oversaw the construction of the Modena Anatomical Institute. After a decade at Modena, he was summoned by Emperor Joseph II back to the University of Padua to be chair of anatomy, where he was to stay for the remainder of his career. The first to describe “the Scarpa triangle” and the nasopalatine nerve, Scarpa also wrote one of the most important ophthalmological volumes of the 19th century, Saggio di osservazioni ed esperienze sulle principali malattie degli occhi (1801, reprinted and translated many times), in addition to several other highly regarded anatomical and surgical texts, including Tabulae neurologicae (1794), which, like most of his works, was masterfully illustrated by his own drawings.