Title: ‘Glossopetra’ [Tongue stone]
Creator: Pietro Santi Bartoli (1635-1700) from a drawing by Agostino Scilla (1639-1700)
Description: Plate 5 from ‘De corporibus marinis lapidescentibus quae defossa reperiuntur’, Romae: Typis Antonii de Rubeis (1747) which contains the first Latin translation of the Italian painter Agostino Scilla’s only palaeontological (and heavily influential) work ‘La vana speculazione disingannata dal senso’ [Vain speculation undeceived by sense] (1670) in which he argued that fossils were not the magical objects many believed them to be but were petrefactions (that is fossils) of once living organisms.
The image shows a ‘Glossopetra’ literally ‘Tongue stone’ which Scilla (amongst others during this period) identified as fossilised shark’s tooth. The tooth is shown embedded in a matrix, and the cast once it has been removed.
Date: 1670 reproduced in 1747
Image reference: 04-56
Recommended print size: Up to A4 (30 x 20cm)