The Museum of Anatomy of the Faculty of Medicine of the Complutense University of Madrid surges in the Royal School of Surgery of San Carlos, created by Royal Order in 1787 by Carlos III. In the concourses celebrated for the construction of the building appears in them the place destined to Anatomical Cabinet (1806-1830). 

In the report emitted by the director of the Royal School, Mr. Antonio Gimbernat in December of 1794, he says in one of their paragraphs

" The formation of the anatomical and pathological cabinet that responsibility very close in the ordinances, is very early, so in pieces natural prepared simple, like in artificial of wax. From these last are counted 57 today, worked all outstanding under the immediate and personal inspection of the Director Mr. Antonio of Gimbernat, to whose expense put on exclusively this part for order of  His Royal Majesty. 

 Between them deserve special attention the collection of those that  represent the diverse states of pregnancy from the conception until the childbirth, the several positions of the fetus within the womb, and their communication with the mother: circumstances all basic for the success in the experience of the childbirths, and in this collection are presented superficially  and to the natural. For complement of this material several pieces are being concluded in wax that they manifest the progresses of the natural childbirth and all the species of the almost real works  so  this collection could take place now between them celebrated from Europe.
In order to multiply the teaching, and make more visual the Anatomy, that is the first  surgical base , we have  exposed to the people that come to the School a complete collection of framed and colored anatomical illustrations acompanied of explanations in Castillian through the which we could learn and review the Anatomy even in the seasons that disable the disection."

In 1799 (12 of March) the immediate antecedent of the current Faculty of Medicine of our University is constituted, upon unitting the School of Surgery and the of Medicine Practices . In April, the 20th was created the Gathered Faculty by the Meeting of Government. Diverse problems concurred in the newly created Faculty, motivated many of them for the hapless reign of Carlos IV, French occupation and beginning of the reign of Fernando VII, but in all this period always there has been mention, in the different dispositions to the use, to content and budget of the Anatomical Cabinet, as the reference to that has demonstrated in the Royal Identification of 1828 destined to regulate the regimen and government of the Schools of Medicine and Surgery.

For the realization of one of the first feature of the Cabinet under direction of Ignacio Lacaba , first like person in charge of disection and after like Professor of Anatomy, worked two sculptors: Juan Cháez and the italian Franceschi, pupil of Fontana, specialized in making feature of wax and to who the figure in wax of a pregnant that exists in the Museum is attributed to. This figure is the one which refers Lacaba in their "Complete Course of Anatomy of the Human Body", published with Bonells in 1796, in this treaty is described the technique of the realization of the figures in wax. All, or most they of them are yet in the museum appointed to the Department of Human Anatomy and Embryology I.

In 1840 a new ordinance implants the norm of donating for  the Anatomical Museum  inheritage the disecting pieces  interesting  for their rarity or difficulty. This was the motive of that both Departments of Anatomy, the second  was created in 1847, have specify budget destined to the Museums. The appointment of Pedro González de Velasco like Director of the Anatomical Museum in 1857 made that the museum reach its time of greater splendour, Not only the figures of wax were restored but rather  disection pieces were produced  and an excellent osteotheque was created. 
From this time two skeletons exist perfectly conserved, one denominated the Gigante Extremeño, of whom  is said that Velasco bought it  in life and the other, a French Grenadier, dead  possibly for an intoxication with mercurial salts, which remains impregnatting the skeleton.

 In 1876 when Julián Calleja, Professor of Anatomy, was Dean, the Museum were free openned to the students of the Faculty. Calleja in their report of the year 1876 describes the Anatomical Department  organization: 
"This Department consists  of the following sections: 1ª of disection 2ª of maceration and drying; 3º of sculpture and painting; 4ª of armor and assembly; and 5ª of museums.

In the box dedicated to this last he comments:  "There are two, one formed by natural pieces and another  for artificial pieces.." and in the one which makes reference to the natural museum divided in 18 sections writes: "Between all these sections contain more than  thousand pieces, of those that deserve to fix the attention. and some  mummified cadavers in who  the thoracic and abdominal viscera  appear translocated"

When he refers to the artificial museum, also divided in 18 sections cites: 
" Between  all these sections exist practically eight hundred pieces, built in several materials, the most of all in wax, also of papier-mâché and plaster (carried out by Díaz Benito), preparations of porcelain (carried out by Fernández Losada); some of them are from France and Germany, but the majority of pieces  are national, built in the laboratories and studios of this Faculty. 

The Collection of pieces could compete with the better of all the countries, deserving special mention the representation of the sympathetic major, four statues of natural size that represent all the bones, articulations, muscles and arteries, and the precious section of natural childbirths.

Besides these museums there was another named Iconographic  that  is referenced by Calleja and contains thousand hundred sheets, placed in squares of crystals, forming the following groups: Osteology, Syndesmology, Myology, Neurology, Angyology, Splacnology.

In 1885 The Anthropological Museum of the Faculty of Medicine was founded by Oloriz Aguilera, and he deposited their collection of craniums that he had begun in 1884 with 14 pieces and reached 2250 pieces. The majority of these craniums had their filiation written on them and the most excellent data in a card with all the pertinent data. This museum was installed  by Calleja in 1893 in the old Lecture Theatre of the Faculty . 

The craniums of this Museum according to the  picked up information  were divided in three parts when the Faculty of Medicine moves to Ciudad Universitaria, allotting them of unequal form between the two Departments of Anatomy and  Legal and Forensic Medicine.

After all, the Professors that have directed any of the Departments have contributed to the aggrandizement of the Museum, through anatomical preparations of cadaverous pieces carried out by them or for their collaborators. So, Julián  Villa enlarged fundamentally  the Museum in the Osteotheque Section, not only human but also animal; Pedro Ara contributed with some heart conduction systems disections; Mezquita worked fundamentally in reproductions of bones, so much in plaster like in wood, and reproductions of some anatomical regions;Orts Llorca leaved several Cranials Nerves disections; Gómez Oliveros preparations of heart, larynx, etc. and  vascular preparations of organs and fetuses.

During the last years, the future of the museum would be very uncertain without the selfsacrificing work and constant effort, although not always reconiced, of Professor Puerta Fonollá, who until their unexpected decease, supported the hope of placing the Museum as high as their backgrounds.

The Museum, at the present  and in the one which makes reference to  the Department of Anatomy and Embryology (I) where is appointed, is constituted fundamentally by  wax preparations of the XVIII Century, plaster preparations, papier-mâché, as well as mummified semiartificial preparations of  anatomical regions, more than 1000 craniums of the Oloriz collection, not well formed human and animal fetuses collection, disections of different regions of the human body,  cranium and face bones in different phases collections and collections of anatomical sheets. Also the Department is receiver of the Great Amphitheater primitive tables  and  San Carlos Royal School  disection tables , some of them  with the name of the Professor that  disectted in it and different material like the car of transport of cadavers to the classrooms in order to explain in them on a disected cadaver, the  injection bombs of cadavers, the lathe utilized in the preparation of anatomical bony reproductions in wood, and an old crematorium oven.

At the present is being carried out the inventory and restoration of all the existent pieces in the Museum or in the deposits of the Department. This behavior is thanks to the grants facilitated by the Social Advice of the Complutense University, the Education Council of the Community in the Autonomous Community from Madrid and the resolved support of the Museums and Patrimony Section corresponding to the Complutense University Governing.



This behavior is decisive, so the Museum figures in all the National and International Madrid Guides   and  in the International Catalog of Scientific Museums.  



Raised from the Royal School of Surgery of San Carlos


Antonio Gimbernat.


Pregnant. Wax Figure Attributed Juan Cháez and Franceschi under  Lacaba direction


“Gigante Extremeño” and  “French Grenadier”  skeletons


Waxes Collection. 1993, Photography: Rosamond Purcell.


Plasters Collection : Division of the abdominal aorta and the constitution of the inferior cava vein . Plaster reconstruction.


Papier-mâché collection. Photographer: Rosamond Purcell, 1993.


Fetuses Collection: Peaceful baby in bottle. Photographer: Rosamond Purcell, 1993. (Suspended Animation - Six Essays on preservation of bodily parts. González-Curssi. Ed. Hartcourt Brace).


Oloriz Collection: Skulls behind glass in sunlight. Photorgapher: Rosamond Purcell, 1993. (Suspended Animation - Six Essays on preservation of bodily parts. González-Curssi. Ed.Hartcourt Brace).

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Heart. Cut panorganografic of the human heart. Gómez Oliveros - Rhode. 

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Royal Order of creation of the Royal School of San Carlos.