Medicine: Piping the Milk

Rome's Hospital of the Holy Ghost, one of Europe's oldest, is so full of medical antiquities that for centuries nobody paid much attention to a charming fresco in the administration building. Painted about 1550 by the Zucchi brothers, minor artists of the Raphael school, it shows a group of wet nurses feeding foundling children, while in one corner of the scene a plump, placid musician plays a ciaramella or shawm, a cousin of the oboe. This week the hospital's archivist, Professor Pietro de Angelis, was getting ready to publish a startling explanation of the musician's presence: he was there to stimulate...

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