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A “temple for science”

A “temple for science”
Historia del edificio

The Marquis, surely embodying the doctor's will, conceived the museum according to the model of “scientific temple” of classicist inspiration then in vogue throughout Europe, and followed by a large number of museums, faculties and academies built during the 19th century, with its Ionian order tetrastyle façade on a podium, topped off with the motto of the Paris Anthropological Society - of which González Velasco was a member - Nosce te ipsum (know yourself) which in turn, according to tradition was displayed in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, the seat of the celebrated oracle. The façade was completed by a series of frescos and sculptures related to the symbology and history of Medicine, of which only the head of Minerva remains on the gable.

As is still done today, its organization in both plan and volume featured a main central body divided into two rooms - the large and small halls - covered by vaults with skylights and dedicated to exhibiting the museum’s collections. At both sides, each lateral body housed the doctor’s private residence and his surgery, the wing where he gave his lectures and drafted his journal and housed the laboratories and even a small private clinic. A more exhaustive analysis of the distribution can be found in the work by Luis Ángel Sánchez published in the museum’s journal.


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