A MASTERPIECE OF CABINETRY
The wooden furnishings in the Mazzolini Giuseppucci pharmacy are unique amongst the historical pharmacies remaining intact today. The carvings cover end to end the entire interior, from the entrance through to the counter and from the walls to the ceiling and represent not only an undisputed Italian Neo Gothic masterpiece but also the most ambitious iconographic project among all pharmacies known to date.
The desire was to create a temple dedicated to the progress of science and to the profession of the pharmacist. In order to make the most of the space available, the complex representation develops along three perfectly integrated levels, laid above the elegant cupboards created in Gothic style with a Perugian influence.
In the two open spaces, divided by the magnificent and ornate central arch, some of the most important scientific discoveries are re-enacted and there are twenty-six portraits to celebrate the protagonists of experimental science, created by the artist together with his school, with such skill that transformed artistic craftsmanship into art.
On the first of the three levels, fifteen ronde-bosse busts overhang the cupboard cusps and represent many internationally renowned protagonists of recent scientific discoveries, made in the fields of chemistry, physics and biology (in alphabetic order they are: Amedeo Avogadro, Claude-Louis Berthollet, Stanislao Cannizzaro, Humphry Davy, Michael Faraday, Benjamin Franklin, Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier, Philipp Eduard Anton von Lenard, Raffaele Piria, Arnaldo Piutti, Sebastiano Purgotti, Victor Regnault, Wilhelm Konrad Röntgen, Francesco Selmi, Alessandro Volta).
The vaulting on the lowered ceiling hosts ten famous doctors and pharmacists, carved as bas-relief tondi and where their position symbolizes the increasingly important profile of the pharmacist profession. At the time, the pharmacy degree was still issued by the Faculty for Chemistry and Medicine whereas many pharmacists had been lobbying the Italian government for the creation of a specific pharmacy degree (in alphabetic order they are: Pietro Albertoni, Giovanni Campani, Arnaldo Cantani, August Wilhelm von Hofmann, Mathieu-Joseph-Bonaventura Orfila, Giuseppe Orosi, Silvio Plevani, Nestore Prota Giurleo, Francesco Ratti, Dioscoride Vitali).
At the entrance, the effigy of Ermogaste Mazzolini is proudly represented on a medallion, crowned by an eagle.
The lunettes located behind the cupboards host a series of evocative figures, carved in maple and ebony, representing the history of scientific experiments and discoveries and in particular Dr. Roentgen discovery of X Ray only few months before, depicted here for the first time ever.
The Neo Gothic style is combined with the Neo Renaissance elegance of several feminine figures , representing the allegory of Medicine, Pharmacy and all the branches of science which are sources of the pharmacist’s knowledge.
This decorative richness doesn’t exclude any object, even the most practical objects are turned into works of art: the sensual umbrella stand (the pharmacy’s allegory), the doorstop disguised as a dolphin, the counter, the small drawers labelled with the names of the local doctors are all perfectly integrated in the furnishings.
Galileo’s motto “Omnia in Pondere et Mensura” is carved on a tondo above the entrance and sets the tone.