The dermatological heritage in danger in Madrid :
Rescue Olivade’s moulages

An information from Professor JOAQUIN CALAP CALATAYUD, Cadix, Spain

Read also Olavide and the roots of Spanish dermatology by X. Sierra


In 1860, the great Spanish dermatologist Jose Eugenio de Olavide became physician in the Hospital de San Juan de Dios in Madrid. In 1873 published his famous Atlas De La Clinica Iconografica De Enfermedades De La Piel o Dermatosis (Imprenta Fortanet, Madrid).

From this time and with the hands of the sculptor Enrique Zofio (a pupil of the French wax moulder Barretta) Olavide created a collection of 1500 pieces in colored wax, reproducing the most important skin diseases seen in the Hospital de San Juan De Dios between 1870 and 1901, the year of Olavide’s death.

With all this pieces, a dermatological museum was created (El Museo De Olavide) and stayed in display in the same place hospital (Doctor Esquerdo street, 46 Madrid) until 1967, when the hospital De San Juan De Dios (120 beds for skin diseases until 1967) was demolished.

With the demolition of the hospital of San Juan De Dios, these 1 500 moulages were put in 212 boxes and situated in the basement of the new hospital.

And since 1967, all the beautiful polychrome wax moulages created by Olavide and Enrique Zofio are still in 212 boxes in the basement of the Hospital Gragorio Maranon...

We think that it is necesary to rescue this important collection. This problem was discussed at the last History of Dermatology Society Seminar in New Orleans in March 1999 and a petition was launched among the historian dermatologists attending to ask the Spanish authorities to find an acceptable solution.

One possible solution, according to Professor Joaquin Calap Calatayud, would be to install these moulages in the Museo De Arte Moderno Reina Sofia (Madrid).

You are welcome to ask for more information and indicate your support in sending an e-mail to Professor Calap Calatayud : jcalapc@meditex.es