Antonio Scarpa (1752-1832)
Anatomicarum annotationum… . [Mutinae, 1779].
Saggio di osservazioni e d’esperienze sulle principali malattie degli occhi. Pavia: Baldassare Comino, 1801. Fulltext online
- Antonio Scarpa, Saggio…sulle principali mallatti degli occhi. These first edition copper plate illustrations again exemplify Scarpa’s brilliant drawing skills.
The most brilliant student of Morgagni and a co-founder of pathological anatomy, Antonio Scarpa earned his medical degree when he was only 18. He served as chair of anatomy and later of surgery at the University of Padua and was distinguished as a researcher, teacher, and surgeon. Scarpa’s anatomical research lasted nearly 60 years, and he continued to write until a year before his death.
Scarpa authored important works in otolaryngology, orthopedics, ophthalmology, neuroanatomy, and general surgery. He added new knowledge that had practical application for surgeons. He was the first to accurately describe the pathological anatomy of congenital clubfoot and also introduced the concept of arteriosclerosis, and identified “Scarpa’s triangle” of the thigh.
Anatomicarum annotationum examines nerve fibers in the ganglia, plexuses, and the olfactory system. In addition to his medical skills Scarpa was an excellent artist and engraved most of his own plates.
Saggio di osservazioni e d’esperienze sulle principali mallatti degli occhi contains Scarpa’s practical observations on the main diseases of the eyes and is illustrated. He describes the treatment of cataract by depression rather than extraction, notes his procedure for making artificial pupils, and suggests a surgical treatment of dropsy of the eyeball. The first ophthalmology text published in Italian, it remained the standard for several decades.