Schuh’s Annotated Bio-Bibliography

Return to main Biobliography page

OLIVA, Giovanni Battista.

(1544? – ?)

(Born:      ; Died:      ) Italian physician.

Biographical references: Lambrecht & Quenstedt, Catalogus, 1938: 319. Zittel, History of Geology, 1901.

De Reconditis, 1584

1. Latin, 1584 [Collection catalog].
De | Reconditis, | Et Praecipuis | Collectaneis | Ab Honestissimo, Et | Francisco Calceolario Veronensi | in Musæo adseruatis, | Ioannis Baptistæ Oliui Medici testificatio, | Ad Excellentiss. D. Hieronymum Mercurialem Foroliuiensem | Medicum, & in Patauina Academia eminentissimum. | [ornament] | Venetiis, | Apud Paulum Zanfrettum. M D LXXIII.

8°: [24], 54, [16] p., frontispiece (oval copper engraving showing putti picking fruit from a palm tree), headlines, capital letters.

Rare. By 1570, the fame of Calzolari's Museum had spread beyond the borders of Italy, and was well known to naturalists throughout Europe. Besides, within Italy, Calzolari's generosity and hospitality attracted a large number of visitors, particularly physicians, to personally visit the Museum. For these reasons and a close bond of friendship between Calzolari and Olivi, the later undertook to compile a catalog of the museum's objects. It appeared as a small book of little substance, which contains typical of the time, a number of recommendatory letters.

The title records that the work is dedicated to Dr. Gerolamo Mercuraile, a physician of Forlì, and instructor at the University of Padua. Following are 21 pages of dedicatory letters and sonnets extolling the value of a catalog of the museum, describing the aim of the work, and giving an actual eyewitness account of an actual visit. Included are observations about the museums contents, including the relatively large collection of portraits of celebrated philosophers and doctors. The inventory of the items follows and includes in its listing, herbs, animals and minerals, in no systematic order, with frequent references to exhibits in the Calzolari museum. The work concludes with another declaration, complete with seal, by the Bologna naturalist, Ulisse Aldrovandi. Aldrovandi and Calzolari had been friends since 1554 and had developed a friendly rivalry in building each of their respective collections.

Bibliographical references: Accordi, B., "The Musaeum Calceolarium (XVIth. Century) of Verona Illustrated in 1622 by Ceruti and Chiocco", Geologica Roma, 16, (1977), 21-54 [see pp. 44-6]. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 287. Murray, Museums, 1904: 1, 70, 84 & 2, 154. NUC: 429, 451. Wilson, History of Mineral Collecting, 1994: 208.