Lecture on Italian ‘hunger artists’ Succi and Mertatti, Oct. 26 

Agustí Nieto-Galan, professor of history of science at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), will speak on two Italian “hunger artists” on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 4:30 p.m. at the Haggerty Museum of Art. 

This lecture, titled “Useful Charlatans: The Fasting Contest of Giovanni Succi and Stefano Mertatti in Paris, 1886,” will analyze the public fasts of Succi and Merlatti and their ability to forego eating for a long period (30 and 50 days, respectively).

No registration is required.

Through the eyes of the French caricaturist Albert Robida, the lecture will discuss how contemporary witnesses described Succi and Merlatti as clever frauds, while others considered them to be interesting physiological anomalies. Controversies about their fasts entered academic circles, but they also spread throughout the urban public at different levels.  

Agustí Nieto-Galan is a ICREA Acadèmia Fellow (2009 & 2018) and director of the Institut d’Història de la Ciència (iHC) at the UAB. He is the author of “Science in the Public Sphere: A History of Lay Knowledge and Expertise” (Routledge, 2016), among numerous other publications.  

This program is co-sponsored by Marquette University’s Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, its Department of Chemistry, and its Center for the Advancement of the Humanities.