Ulisse Aldrovandi, an Italian naturalist, was born Sep. 11, 1522. We published a post on Aldrovandi two years ago, and since it was one of our better efforts, we have no wish to tamper with it or replace it. There are two reasons for this second installment. The first is to introduce you to an exhibition titled Icone di Scienza (Scientific Icons), curated by Marco Beretta, that has just opened at the Museo di Palazzo Poggi at the University of Bologna, where the focus is on portraits, medals, and other physical artifacts of Bolognese naturalists from the late Renaissance through the 18th century. Of special interest to us is the section on Aldrovandi, where there are no less than four oil portraits, two engraved portraits, and a bust of Aldrovandi on display. This is a richness of scientific iconography that one seldom encounters. It sounds from the catalogue as if this is an actual physical exhibition, with the portraits really on display, but for most of us in this pandemic age, it will have to be a virtual experience, since the exhibition only runs through the end of September, 2020. We reproduce above one of the oil portraits of Aldrovandi, by an unknown artist, and link to the page with all the portraits here.
The second reason for renewing our interest in Aldrovandi is to offer you another clerihew, the fourth in our fledgling series. As before, I wrote the verse, and the calligraphy and gouache drawing have been provided by Melissa Dehner, staff artist and designer at the Library. To prime the pump, you might want to look at the previous post on Aldrovandi, where his armadillo is the fourth image. You may find Melissa’s first three gouaches by typing “clerihew” into the search box above. Let us know if this is a diversion worth continuing.
Dr. William B. Ashworth, Jr., Consultant for the History of Science, Linda Hall Library and Associate Professor emeritus, Department of History, University of Missouri-Kansas City. Comments or corrections are welcome; please direct to firstname.lastname@example.org.