was born in 1307 and died on March 26, 1326, in a blazing inferno at age 19. She was an Italian anatomist
, serving as the first female prosector
(preparer of dissections for anatomical study) in Italy.
She was the surgical assistant to Mondino De' Luzzi
(d. 1326), professor of medicine at the University of Bologna
who published a seminal anatomy handbook in 1316. She developed a method of draining the blood from a corpse and replacing it with a hardening coloured dye, thus allowing the smallest blood vessels
to be seen with ease.
Alessandra Giliani's short life was honoured by Otto Angenius, also one of Mondino's assistants and probably her fiance, with a plaque at the Church of San Pietro e Marcellino in Rome which describes her work.
She is mentioned by the nineteenth-century historian Michele Medici
, who published a history of the Bolognese school of anatomy in 1857.
The Barbara Quick book The Golden Web
, published by Harper Teen Press, is a fictional biography of Alessandra.
- at About.com . Accessed May 2007
- at the Brooklyn Museum The Dinner Party database . Accessed May 2007