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Collezione 34 modelli micologici


Collection of 34 mycological models
early 20th century

The models are made using mixed techniques,
mainly wood and painted plaster.


Height: from 2.75 in the shortest to 5.51 in the tallest
The bases range from 4.33 x 1.96 in to 3.93 x 1.96 in

State of conservation:

Some crack repaired and small defects on the labels.

The history of mycological studies is very complex. We know that mushrooms have been known to man since prehistoric times, as proven by some representations in rock art and remains demonstrating their consumption found around ancient dwellings. Their use must have also been linked to shamanic practices as well as to therapeutic uses. Hippocrates and Pliny the Elder cite mushrooms in their writings and in a very well-known bas-relief of Pharsalus, now in the Louvre, two female figures, probably linked to the Eleusinian mysteries, carry mushrooms. In the Middle Ages the mycetes were instead connected superstitiously to the work of the Devil. In the Renaissance, mushrooms were still considered fruitless and seedless vegetables. Only after the first mycological studies, by Pier Antonio Miceli (1679-1753), did new scientific perspectives open up.
In the early Nineteenth century mycology was finally recognized as a science in all respects completely independent from botany.
Unlike that of plants, the conservation of mushrooms presented greater difficulties, however, which made the creation of comparative collections for their study and classification complex; for this reason the creation of models, often accompanied by tables and engravings, was essential.
The model collections, as well as similar models for the plants, were created for educational and documentary purposes to show visitors and scholars the great variety of shapes, colours and portions of multiple specimens, even including some coming from the explorations of lands then little known from a naturalistic point of view.
The models also served to illustrate updates adopted in botanical classification and nomenclature.
In our case this is a striking series of mycological models that reproduce the productive bodies of many examples of the macrofungi which had been identified at the time: “Boletus splendidus”, “Lactarius rufus”, “Lactarius torminosus”, “Conch morchella”, “Ammanita muscaria”, “Boletus calopus”, “Boletus erythropus”, “Clavaria ramaria Formosa”, “Clitocybe nebularis”, “Lactarius controversus”, “Morchella rotunda”, “Morchella vulgaris” (two specimens). Some specimens bear the tag with the name around the stem.

The collection is probably the work of Czechoslovakian artisans in the early Twentieth century who worked for botanical museums. The macrofungi models in plaster, a total of 34 models, are mounted directly on a wooden base with the addition, sometimes, of moss to reconstruct the environment, in addition to showing their morpho-anatomical and chromatic characteristics.

Cover Photo: Fabrizio Stipari