Mattioli’s Dioscorides Illustrated by Cibo

Mattioli’s Dioscorides Illustrated by Cibo

Italy — 1564–1584

Powerfully orchestrated by the brilliant artist and botanist Gherardo Cibo: the translation and additions by the famous physician Pietro Andrea Mattioli to the groundbreaking De Materia Medica by Dioscorides

  1. De materia medica by Dioscorides (ca. AD 40–90) is a fundamental text in the history of pharmacology and herbal medicine

  2. The famous Sienese physician Pietro Andrea Mattioli (1501–1577) translated the work and supplemented it with his own experiences

  3. Gherardo Cibo (1512–1600) decorated the manuscript with 160 fascinating miniatures of plants and landscapes

Mattioli’s Dioscorides Illustrated by Cibo

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Mattioli’s Dioscorides Illustrated by Cibo

This gorgeous botanical and medical manuscript is a true masterpiece of Renaissance book art created ca. 1564-84 by Gherardo Cibo, an artistic genius and botanist in his own right. It contains the text of the Discorsi, an Italian translation of the ancient text De materia medica by Dioscorides in addition to a selection of medical and botanical texts by the Pietro Andrea Mattioli, a famous physician from Siena. Cibo illustrated the work with more than 160 remarkable pictures of plants and landscapes that rank amongst the most beautiful of the Renaissance.

Mattioli’s Dioscorides Illustrated by Cibo

The ancient text De materia medica by Dioscorides (ca. AD 40-90) is a magnum opus of pharmacology and remained a fundamental medical reference well into the Early Modern period. This magnificent specimen is a superb Renaissance manuscript created ca. 1564-84 by the artistic genius and botanist Gherardo Cibo (1512-1600) that features an Italian translation of the work in addition to a selection of medical and botanical texts by Pietro Andrea Mattioli (1501-1577), a famous physician from Siena. 160+ full-page miniatures consisting of a detailed depiction of each plant set within in natural environment adorn the text and possess an artistry comparable to contemporary panel paintings.

Who was Dioscorides?

The so-called Dioscorides manuscripts trace their roots back to an ancient doctor. Pedanios Dioscorides Anazerebus was a doctor and naturalist who was born in Anazarba in Asia Minor in the 1st century. He was active as a physician in the Roman army under the Emperors Claudius and Nero. With his treatise concerning the medicinal effects of plants, but also animal and mineral materials, he composed the primary work of early medicine and the template and example for medieval pharmacopeias. De materia medica enjoyed great fame both in the Orient and the Occident with translations in numerous languages.

A Renaissance Masterpiece

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. Cibo illustrated the work with more than 160 remarkable pictures of plants and landscapes that rank amongst the most beautiful of the Renaissance. He was an avid reader and admirer of this book by Mattioli and copied entire passages in neat script, adding his own comments, anecdotes, 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 colored landscapes of their natural habitat. 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.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Auszüge aus Dioscorides ''De re medica''
Auszüge aus Dioscorides ''De re medica'' illustriert von Gherardo Cibo
Dioscórides de Cibo y Mattioli
Size / Format
370 pages / 26.5 × 19.5 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
1564–1584
Language
Script
Italian Cursive
Illustrations
131 full-page framed watercolor images, 25 watercolor botanical drawings
Content
Discorsi by Pietro Andrea Mattioli
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Marchese Giovanni Battista Costabili Containi
Marchese Giovanni Costabili Containi

Available facsimile editions:
Dioscórides de Cibo y Mattioli
M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2021
Limited Edition: 987 copies
Detail Picture

Mattioli’s Dioscorides Illustrated by Cibo

Rabbit Foraging for Food

Many of the plants found in this manuscript are depicted enlarged in front of naturalistic landscapes reflecting the environment in which they might be found. This miniature of Pulmonaria, commonly known as lungwort, shows a brown rabbit foraging for food among the colorful flowers in the foreground. In the background, a boat full of people is ferried across the river where more figures wait for them. A monastery surrounded by trees is depicted on the opposite bank.

Dioscórides de Cibo y Mattioli
Single Page

Mattioli’s Dioscorides Illustrated by Cibo

Halicababum

Solanum is a genus of flowering plants including crops such as the potato, tomato, and eggplant as well as varieties Halicababum. It has broader leaves than other species of solanum with stalks that bend towards the earth after they become heavy with fruit, which consist of round pods resembling reddish bladders, hence the common name “bladder cherry”.

The fruit of the Physalis alkekengi is not used for cooking but can be used as a diuretic and as a cure for jaundice. Its juices are squeezed from the fruit and then dried in the shade to be kept for future use. Aside from its medicinal purposes, it is a popular ornamental plant that is found in gardens from Europe to Japan, where the lantern-like fruit is part of the traditional Bon Festival.

Dioscórides de Cibo y Mattioli
Facsimile Editions

#1 Dioscórides de Cibo y Mattioli

M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2021

Publisher: M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2021
Limited Edition: 987 copies
Binding: Black leather binding with gold tooling
Commentary: 1 volume by Peter Kidd, Ramón Morales Valverde, Vivian Nutton, Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi, and Elena Artale
Language: Spanish
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€€€ (7,000€ - 10,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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