Lines and Colors art blog

Gherardo Cibo’s 16th century watercolor illustrations of medicinal herbs

Gherardo Cibos 16th century watercolor illustrations of medicinal herbs
De Materia Medica is a Greek manual on herbal medicine written by Pedanius Dioscorides in the first century.

It was re-issued in the 16th century in an expanded version with annotations by Italian physician Pietro Andrea Mattioli. This version featured illustrations by the artist Gherardo Cibo, who was noted for his interest in botany and detailed renderings of plants.

Cibo’s illustrations show the expected close ups of the plant forms, but they are set against delightful background scenes of towns, ports, mountainsides and people engaged in various activities, including gathering plants. Aside from the latter activity, I don’t know if there is any connection between the depicted background scenes and the nature of the plants or their medicinal uses.

[Via Slate]