Pietro Andrea Mattioli

Hand-colored botanical illustrations from "I Discorsi Di M. Pietro Andrea Matthioli" published in 1568

From a xerox I received with the prints:

Pietro Andrea Mattioli (1500-1577). Mattioli of Sienna studied medicine at Padua where he graduated in 1523. He was at the service of the Emperors Ferdinand and Maximillian II. His interests were mainly concentrated in Botanic studies and gathered into a tractatus which was translated into many different languages. He is considered to be one of the most famous naturalists of his time. He prepared what many authorities now regard as the encyclopedia of Renaissance pharmacology. Mattioli studied hundreds of plants, examined and described them fully, added many new species, and provided excellent illustrations which were far superior to those of any previous work in the field. -- Heirs of Hippocrates --

The engraving process which was used is called xylography, taken from the Greek - wood and writing. It is the oldest technique of artistic engraving, consisting of the cutting into a flat board of wood. The technique first appeared in Europe in the 14th century but became an established technique in the 15th century. It was already adopted by the Chinese in old times. The first typographic book including xylographies was printed in Bamberga, Germany in 1461. The first appearance of xylographic technique signifies the "Old Period" also called the period of the "thread wood" because the craftsman used to carve the wood with little knives, pointers and gouges on boards previously cut lengthwise.

Wikipedia: Pietro Andrea Mattioli  |  Aboca Museum - Bibliotheca Antique

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