Research Seminar: "From the Body to the Body Politic: Peter Leopold’s Creation of the Tuscan Enlightenment State" - Rebecca Messbarger (Washington University)


Location: Special Collections, Hesburgh Library

The Italian Research Seminar

Rebecca Messbarger (Washington University) - "From the Body to the Body Politic: Peter Leopold’s Creation of the Tuscan Enlightenment State"

Thursday September 15 at 5:00pm in Special Collections, Hesburgh Library

Habsburg Grand Duke of Tuscany Peter Leopold sought to create the model Enlightenment state during his twenty-five-year reign. Focusing her sights on this crucial but neglected period of Tuscan history, Messbarger will explore how the flesh and bones human body and its virtual remaking in wax for the Royal Museum of Physics and Natural history were linchpins of the sweeping reforms the Grand Duke enacted in the overlapping spheres of art, science, politics, and the law.

Rebecca Messbarger is Professor of Italian, Art History, History, Performing Arts, and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Washington University, specializing in the Italian Enlightenment. Her most recent monograph is The Lady Anatomist: the Life and Work of Anna Morandi Manzolini (U. of Chicago Press, 2010), finalist for the 2012 College Art Association Charles Rufus Morey Award. She is author of The Century of Women: Representations of Women in Eighteenth-Century Italian Public Discourse, (U of Toronto Press, 2002). She co-edited with Christopher Johns and Philip Gavitt the volumeBenedict XIV and the Enlightenment: Art, Science and Spirituality, (U. of Toronto Press, 2016), and she co-edited and translated with Paula Findlen The Contest for Knowledge: Debates Over Women’s Learning in Eighteenth-Century Italy (U. of Chicago Press, 2005). She is the author of numerous articles, including “The Re-Birth of Venus in Florence’s Royal Museum of Physics and Natural History” in The Oxford Journal of the History of Collections (May 2012), winner of the James L. Clifford Prize from the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Messbarger is the recipient of grants and awards from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society.