Lazzaro Spallanzani collection
Upon the scientist’s death, Lazzaro Spallanzani’s personal collection was purchased by the Municipality of Reggio Emilia together with the furnishings that went with it. The collection, hosted in the northern wing of the S.Francesco Palace since 1830, has been kept as it was for over two centuries. Originally distributed among the rooms in Spallanzani’s house, this collection still reflects its dual nature as a scientific document and as elegant, extraordinary furnishings. The presence of manyartistic and crafted pieces, in which interest for the natural material is combined with a decorative purpose asdomestic furnishings, along with the presence of art fully assembled specimens, is a reference to those “Wunderkammern” from which the nature museum originated.
Even the tables become for Spallanzani a set of stone samples. This one is made of Serravezza marble (Alpi Apuane, Toscana, Italy) in three colors: red, black and white. The scientist writes to his brother in 1781: "There will be several tables of Viano stones, that are very beautiful an then an oval coffee table rather great, I bought in Carrara, and that is really unique. It has three colors, black, white and red, large round spots"
Spallanzani made the college with zoological tables assembling the illustrated pages of four volumes of Historia Naturalis by Johannes Jonstonus, a Polish naturalist (1603-1675), in carved and gilded frames. The text itself was largely outdated in 18th century but Spallanzani grately admired the beauty of the illustrations and decided to use them as decorations for his room.
In the Linnaean classification, the Amphibia class includes current classes of Reptiles, Amphibians and part of Fishes. These organisms were studied by Spallanzani on several occasions. He used many toads, marbled newts and green lizards, to carry out the research on fertilization and on the "spermatic worms".
These studies are confirmed by specimens with showy abdominal fissures, like these lizards preserved in vese.
In Spallanzani collection, the Mineral Kingdom is represented by several mineralogical and lithological specimens, housed in four cabinets.
An entire wardrobe is dedicated to “volcanic productions”, mostly obsidians and pumices collected by Spallanzani himself during his journey in southern Italy and Eolian Islands (1788).
Musei Civici of Reggio Emilia would like to thanks:
Google Cultural Institute
Massimo Magnani, dir. Area Competitività e innovazione sociale
Elisabetta Farioli, dir. Musei Civici
Silvia Chicchi, ispettore naturalista
Georgia Cantoni, coordinamento redazionale
Selene Cabibbo, Andrea Viani, redazione
Fabrizio Giacchè, Marina Notari, collaboratori