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Benedicto Ceruto
CERUTO, Benedicto.

CERUTO, Benedicto.
(      - 1620)

(Born:      ; Died: 1620) Italian pharmacist.

Biographical references: ABE: I 208, 36. Dizionario Biografico Italiani [not listed]. WBI.

Mvsaevm Calceolari, 1622

1. Italian, 1622 [Collection catalog].
[Contained within an elaborate engraved border:] Mvsaevm | Franc. Calceolari | Ivn. Veronensis | A Benedicto Cervto Medico | Incæptvm. | Et Ab Andrea Chiocco | Med. Physico Excellentiss. | Collegii | Luculenter Descriptum & Perfectum, | In quo multa ad naturalem, moralem Philosophia | 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. | [At bottom of page:] Verona . October M.D.C.XXII.

2°: [50], 746 [i.e., 748] p., engraved title page, folding engraved plate of the museum's interior, 43 engraved plates in the text (8 of which are full-page). Colophon: Veronæ, Apud Angelus Tamus, 1622.

Plates: The fine plates were designed by the Verona artist J.B. Bertonus and engraved by the goldsmith and engraver Hieronymus Viscardus.

Rare. Co-authored with Andrea Chiocco [see note below]. Francesco Calzolari, a wealthy Veronese pharmacist, created toward the end of the 16th century, one of the earliest natural history collections, both competing and collaborating with his colleagues and rival collectors Ulisse Aldrovandi in Bologna and Michele Mercati in Rome. Calzolari's collection was first described in 1584 by Giovanni Battista Oliva of Cremona, but it was his grandson, Francesco junior, who inherited the accumulation, and added to it, that history is indebted to for this authoritative account of the collection. It was the heir that hired the two physicians, Ceruti and Chiocco to catalog the museum.

Francesco Calzolari senior was a native of Verona. After studying under the naturalist Luca Ghini [1500-1556], he went on to the University of Padua where he learned the preparation of pharmaceutical prescriptions using various plant, animal, and mineral substances. He was an excellent student, and eventually left school to open in the main square of Verona his own shop, called "The Golden Bell."

In order to stock his shop with raw materials, Calzolari would walk the mountains and valleys of the surrounding area in order to collect plants, minerals and animals. Soon he was driven by a fascination with natural history, and he worked through dealers and travellers to acquire all sorts of herbs, fruits, animals, birds, minerals and fossils from throghout Europe and Asia Minor. These specimens he added to a growing collection displayed in a special room at the rear of his pharmaceutical shop. Contemporary accounts indicate that each specimen was accompanied by a detailed label. As the nature of Calzolari's museum became known, a steady stream of physicians, naturalists, friends, and curiosity seekers began to visit. Eventually the fame of "The Golden Bell" spread throughout Europe, and it became a site to visit when travelling through Verona.

Ceruto and Chiocco's catalog preserve a record of the museum at its height. The exhibit room is beautifully illustrated in the folding frontispiece. It shows a room lined with nicely crafted open shelves above a series of drawers at waist level. Underneath the drawers are stored various urns and vases, while stuffed birds rest on top of the shelves. From the ceiling are hung numerous preserved animals, including snakes, fish, lizards, a porcupine, and apparently a human head(!). Many items that were typical fare of `Wunderkammer' of the period are present in Calzolari's museum. The strength of the collection lay in the numerous botanical and mineralogical specimens, some of which are illustrated on the finely engraved plates. Within the section on minerals and fossils is the first publication of Girolamo Fracastoro's [1483-1553] idea proposed in 1517 that fossils originated from once living animals. There creation being caused by the changing positions of land and sea. The catalog ends with a description of the library and gallery of paintings of famous doctors, botanists, philosophers, and mathematicians. In the 1640's the collection was sold off, part going to a Veronese pharmacist named Mario Sala, and part being acquired by Lodovico Moscardo and incorporated into his own large collection.

The museum was divided into several sections: (1) corals, (2) clays and earths, (3) crystal-lined geodes, amethyst, fluorite, diamond, opal, cat's-eye, emerald, topaz, malachite, jasper, beryl, sapphire, lapis lazuli, turquoise, ruby, garnet, chalcedony, sardonyx, carnelian, agate, magnetite, hematite, dolomite, gypsum, and some fossils, (4) gold, silver, cinnabar, copper, and iron minerals, antimony minerals, coal, talc, alum, cassiterite and others, (5) the herbarium, and (6) preserved animals, birds and snakes, including a supposed horn of a unicorn.

Andrea Chiocco. (Born: c1562; Died: 3 April 1624) Italian pharmacist. Need Biography.

Bibliographical references: Accordi, B., "The Musaeum Calceolarium (XVIth. Century) of Verona Illustrated in 1622 by Ceruti and Chiocco", Geologica Roma, 16, (1977), 21-54. Beekman, Systematische Mineralogie, 1906: 25. BL. Bromehead, C.E.N., "Flavus or blavus: a difficulty in understanding early descriptions of minerals", Mineralogical Magazine, 28, 104-107. Cobres, Deliciæ Cobresianæ, 1782: 1, 98. Fahy, C., Printing a book at Verona in 1622: the account book of Francesco Calzolari junior. Paris, Foundation Custodia, 1993. [8], [1]-171, [25] p. Freilich Sale Catalog: no. 122. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 278 [says this edition reprinted at Verona in 1625.]. Murray, Museums, 1904: 1, 83-4, 236 & 2, 154. Nissen (ZBI): no. 857. NLM 17th Century Books (Krivatsy): no. 2371. NUC. Wallerius, Brevis Introductio, 1779: 30-1. Wellcome Catalog (Books): 1, no. 1412. Wilson, History of Mineral Collecting, 1994: 25-7, 163-4 & 208. (Chiocco) ABI: I 292, 185-186. Casati, Dizionario degli Scrittori d'Italia, 1925-34. Dizionario Biografico Italiani: 25, 11-2. Jöcher, Gelehrten-Lexikon, Supplement. WBI.

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