Musaeum Calceolarii, 1622

Musaeum Calceolarii, 1622


Title: Musaeum Franc. CalceolarI iun. Veronensis a Benedicto Ceruto medico incaeptum, : et ab Andrea Chiocco med. physico excellentiss. collegii luculenter descriptum, & perfectum, in quo multa ad naturalem, moralemq́[ue] philosophia[m] spectantia, non pauca ad rem medicam pertinentia erudité proponuntur, & explicantur; non sine magna rerum exoticarum supellectile, quæ artifici plané manu in æs incisæ, studiosis exhibentur.

Variant Title: Mvsaevm Franc. CalceolarI ivn. Veronensis a Benedicto Cervto medico incaeptvm. Author: Ceruto, Benedicto, -1620; Calzolari, Francesco, 1522-1609 ; Chiocco, Andrea, -1624 ; Tamo, Angelo, active 1598-1630; Museo Francesco Calzolari (Verona, Italy). Publisher Details: Veronae: Apud Angelum Tamum. Publication Date: MDCxxij [1622]. Format: [50], 746 [i.e. 748] p., [2] leaves of plates : ill. ; fol.Source: Bodleian Library, shelfmark Ashm. 1695. Full digital copy on (lacking frontispiece).

Image 1: Frontispiece. Image 2: Engraved title page.

Commentary.  This image clearly suggests one of the roots of the modern museum in the apothecary's shop. It's owner was, in fact, the leading apothecary of Verona, Francesco Calzolari (1522-1609). No less evident are the humanist preoccupations of a botanist who combined frequent contact with the leading Italian naturalists of his day, regular excursions into the foothills of the Alps, and close study of the pharmaceutical recipies passed down from the ancients.  

Elias Ashmole recommended this catalogue and the Note overo memorie del museo di Ludovico Moscardo (Padua: Paolo Frambotto, 1656) as models for Robert Plot to emulate in the preparation of a published catalogue of the Ashmolean. Like the Museum Tradescantianum, the far earlier Musaeum Calceolarium documents the humbler style of collection of less gentlemanly collectors (one a gardener, the other an apothecary), but does so in a far superior fashion.  Ludovico Moscardo, by contrast, was described on the title page of his catalogue as a Veronese noble and member of the Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna: just the sort of figure that Ashmole himself wished to strike. Moreover, just as the Ashmolean Museum is founded on the Tradescant collection, Moscardo founded his collection by acquiring that of Calzolari, to which he added antiquities of his own. Together, these collections now form part of the basis of the modern Museo di Storia Naturale in Verona. 

Credit. Howard Hotson and Vittoria Feola, October 2016.