Mattioli’s Dioscorides illustrated by Cibo (Discorsi by Mattioli and Cibo)

The British Library, London




In this remarkable codex, the artistic genius and botanist Gherardo Cibo (1512-1600) compiled a selection of medical and botanical texts from the Discorsi by the famous physician of Siena Pietro Andrea Mattioli (1501-1577), and illustrated them with more than 160 remarkable pictures of plants and landscapes that rank amongst the most beautiful of the Renaissance.

Mattioli’s Discorsi is his Italian translation of Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica (1st century AD) with the addition of lengthy commentaries based on his personal experience and on popular and learned medicine. Mattioli’s book was extremely useful for physicians and herbalists not familiar with classical languages.

Gherardo Cibo was an avid reader and admirer of this book by Mattioli. He copied entire passages in neat script, adding his own comments, anecdotes and legends and, more importantly, illustrated them with delicate and lifelike botanical images. His splendid miniatures feature different species of plants standing out in the foreground against the brightly coloured landscapes of their natural habitat.

Gherardo Cibo’s manuscript, with its dazzlingly beautiful miniatures, is an unusual and personal version of Mattioli’s printed work and a highly original artistic contribution to both nascent modern science and the history of botanical and landscape illustrations.
Helleboris viridis or Elleboro nero (Green hellibore) in Mattioli`s Dioscorides illustrated by Cibo, Add. Ms. 22332.

In this remarkable codex, the artistic genius and botanist Gherardo Cibo (1512-1600) compiled a selection of medical and botanical texts from the Discorsi by the famous physician of Siena Pietro Andrea Mattioli (1501-1577), and illustrated them with more than 160 remarkable pictures of plants and landscapes that rank amongst the most beautiful of the Renaissance.

Mattioli’s Discorsi is his Italian translation of Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica (1st century AD) with the addition of lengthy commentaries based on his personal experience and on popular and learned medicine. Mattioli’s book was extremely useful for physicians and herbalists not familiar with classical languages.

Gherardo Cibo was an avid reader and admirer of this book by Mattioli. He copied entire passages in neat script, adding his own comments, anecdotes and legends and, more importantly, illustrated them with delicate and lifelike botanical images. His splendid miniatures feature different species of plants standing out in the foreground against the brightly coloured landscapes of their natural habitat.

Gherardo Cibo’s manuscript, with its dazzlingly beautiful miniatures, is an unusual and personal version of Mattioli’s printed work and a highly original artistic contribution to both nascent modern science and the history of botanical and landscape illustrations.



Description

Mattioli’s Dioscorides illustrated by Cibo (Discorsi by Mattioli and Cibo) The British Library, London


✵ Shelf mark: Add. Ms. 22332
✵ Date: c. 1564-1584
✵ Size: 265 x 195 mm
✵ Pages: 370 pages, 168 full-page miniatures
✵ Bound in gold-tooled and stamped black leather
✵ Full-colour commentary volume

Unique and unrepeatable first edition, strictly limited to 987 numbered and authenticated copies.


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