Antonio Scarpa1752–1832

Scarpa’s head

Scarpa added greatly to knowledge of the anatomy of the senses as well as of the brain. He made important discovery on the anatomy of the internal ear and of the vestibular system (as attested by Scarpa’s ganglion). He described accurately the innervation of the heart, correcting the commonly held error that the heart lacked nerves (“cor nervis carere”) . He was also a great surgeon and he developed new surgical approach particularly in the treatment of urinary bladder stones. His skills as an artist are evident in the anatomical drawings that are produced from copper plates in his books. He is shown in the illustration of the head, derived from his Essay on Diseases of the Eye (1801); Scarpa’s right eye is aligned with that of the head in the illustration. The book was one of the first on ophthalmology published in Italian, and it described operations for cataract treatment by depression.