Whole bodies, heads, babies, young ladies, peasants, their skin turned into stone, immune to putrescence: they are the “Gorini’s dead”, locked in a lapidary eternity that saves them from the ravenous destruction of the Conquering Worm.
They can be admired in a small museum in Lodi, where, under the XVI century vault with grotesque frescoes, a unique collection is preserved: the marvellous legacy of Paolo Gorini (1813-1881). Eccentric figure, characterised by a clashing duality, Gorini devoted himself to mathematics, volcanology, experimental geology, corpse preservation (he embalmed the prestigious bodies of Giuseppe Mazzini and Giuseppe Rovani), however he was also involved in the design of one of the first Italian crematory ovens.
Introverted recluse in his laboratory obtained from an old deconsecrated church, but at the same time women’s lover and man of science able to establish close relationships with the literary men of his era, Gorini is depicted in the collective imagination as a figure poised between the necromant and the romantic cliché of the “crazy scientist”, both loved and feared. Because of his mysterious procedures and top-secret formulas that could “petrify” the corpses, Paolo Gorini’s life has been surrounded by an air of legend.
Thanks to the contributions of the museum curator Alberto Carli and the anthropologist Dario Piombino-Mascali, this book retraces the curious historic period during which the petrifaction process obtained a certain success, as well as the value and interest conferred to the collection in Lodi nowadays.
These preparations, in fact, are not silent witnesses: they speak about the history of the long-dated human obsession for the preserving of dead bodies, documenting a moment in which the Westerners relationship with death was beginning to change. And, ultimately, they solve Paolo Gorini’s enigma: a “wizard”, man and scientist, who, traumatised at a young age by his father’s death, spent his whole life probing the secrets of Nature and attempting to defeat the decay.
This is the third book of the #BizzarroBazar series, edited by Ivan Cenzi. The object of this series, with texts in Italian and English, is to enhance and explore some of our peninsula’s hidden wonders and invite people to think about its artistic and cultural heritage. The series conveys to the reader the same sense of astonishment and delight that can be experienced when entering a Wunderkammer. The absolute protagonists of the book are the amazing images by Carlo Vannini, one of the most recognized art photographers in our country, which offer the reader a perfect visual guide.
The author and editor:
Ivan Cenzi is an explorer of the uncanny and collector of curiosities. Since 2009 he has been the editor of #BizzarroBazar, a blog that deals with anything weird, macabre and marvellous, which in a short time has become the Italian landmark for this kind of topics. Over the years #BizzarroBazar has been dealing with wunderkammer, anthropology of death, museums and anatomical collections, history of the circus and travelling fairs, the early days of science, classical and modern art, alternative sexuality and in general anything at the outskirts of culture. He combines his work as a writer, editor and blogger with and intense work as a lecturer and collaborates with international museums and universities. From 2019, he is a lecturer for the master in Death Studies and for the degree course in Psychology of end-of-life relations at the University of Padua. He has contributed to various newspapers, written several foreword contributions for contemporary art publications and organized cultural events.
His books for #logosedizioni are: La veglia eterna. Catacombe dei Cappuccini di Palermo, De Profundis. Il cimitero delle Fontanelle di Napoli, Mors Pretiosa. Ossari religiosi italiani, Sua maestà anatomica. Museo Morgagni di Padova, Il pietrificatore. La collezione anatomica Paolo Gorini, Paris Mirabilia (also available in english and french), London Mirabilia (also available in english) and Julia Pastrana (also available in english).
Carlo Vannini is the photographer of all “cultural” objects: artworks, archaeological finds, restoration works, architectural structures, city views, but also ordinary handcrafted artefacts permeated by a strong historical feeling. He was born in Reggio Emilia in 1956, where his uncle, a painter, and his father, a decorator, made him familiar with artistic materials. After a short amateurish experience, Carlo developed a strong passion for the professional reproduction of artworks, which has been leading him through exciting adventures while documenting restoration works. He has gradually developed a mastery of photographic techniques such as ultraviolet, infrared, skimming light, transmitted light and mirrored light. Since 1983 he has been creating illustrations for catalogues and still-life advertising photographs and is acknowledged as one of the leading Italian fine art photographers.
#keeptheworldweird #BizzarroBazar #logosedizioni
|Author||Ivan Cenzi, Carlo Vannini|
|Dimensions||cm 17,3 x 24,0|
|Il pietrificatore. La collezione anatomica «Paolo Gorini»||beilibri.com||www||24-01-2018|
|LE MUMMIE DI GORINI LASCIANO DI SASSO||Il Venerdì/Repubblica||23-02-2018|
|Il Pietrificatore. Paolo Gorini e i suoi cadaveri diventati museo||Il Cittadino / Lodi||05-03-2018|
|Bizzarro Bazar, il fascino indiscreto delle stravaganze||Italian Factory Magazine||www||08-07-2019|