Vasorum lymphaticorum corporis humani historia et ichnographia.
Ex typographia Pazzini Carli
138 p.; 56 x 42 cm
Mascagni attended the University of Siena, becoming assistant to Pietro Tabarini, whom he succeeded in 1779 as Professor of Anatomy. He also held a post at Pisa before moving to Florence where he taught a variety of subjects, including art anatomy. In the period 1770-1790 research into lymphatics was being conducted in several countries. In England W. Hewson's Experimental inquiries, vol. 2 (1774), W. Cruikshank's The anatomy of the absorbing vessels (1786), and J. Sheldon's The history of the absorbent system (1784), was complemented in Germany by J.G. Walter (1775) and S.T. Soemmering (1779), in France by Sabatier (1780), and in Italy by Scarpa (1783), and Mascagni, whose major contribution to the subject was contained in his Vasorum lymphaticorum. Mascagni paved the way for advances in anatomy, physiology and clinical medicine. The mercury injection method enabled him to observe, name and describe almost all the lymph glands and vessels in the human body. Indeed, he discovered about fifty percent of the lymphatic vessels now known. At the time of his death in 1815 Mascagni was working on a huge scheme of a universal anatomy, using life-size colour illustrations, of the entire human body, aided by the best Sienese and Florentine artists of the day. Part of the scheme was realised with the posthumous publication of Anatomia universa between 1823 and 1832. Printed by Firmin Didot, it is claimed to be the most splendid anatomical atlas ever produced. The forty-four huge plates, measuring 95 x 68 cm., took the engraver Serantoni nine years to produce. The work was issued in smaller format in 1833. In addition a pirated edition, with lithographic plates, was published in Paris 1823-1826, entitled Planches anatomiques du corps humain. Neither the name of Mascagni nor Serantoni appears on the title page. Vasorum lymphaticorum contains twenty-seven plates and fourteen outline keys of the human lymphatic system, drawn and engraved by Ciro Santi of Bologna
Choulant-Frank, p. 315-320; Heirs of Hippocrates 684; Roberts & Tomlinson, p.384-396; Hagelin, p. 128-129; H.F. Norman 1450; DSB.
Academy of Medicine Collection