by Basilius Besler
approximately 16″ x 20″
Fair Market Value: $65.00
Basilius Besler (1561-1629), a Nuremberg apothecary, was placed in charge of the gardens of the Prince Bishop of Eichstatt. He started to make illustrations for a modest herbal, devoted to plants of medicinal value. But because of Prince Bishop’s patronage, he was able to expand his work to the scope of this massive herbal. His ‘HORTUS EYSTETTENSIS (The Garden of Eichstatt)’ contains 374 plates and took 16 years to complete. The principal engraver was Wolfgang Kilian (1581-1662); as many as ten other artists and engravers may also have been employed. Over one thousand flowers were depicted, representing 667 species with exemplary fidelity to nature. The rhythmic patterns of roots, however, betray the decorative linear conventions of the era of Albrecht Durer and Lucas Cranach.
The ‘HORTUS EYSTETTENSIS’ was one of the first printed herbals to be illustrated. Such an undertaking was of inestimable value to doctors, pharmacists- and their patients. The ‘HORTUS EYSTETTENSIS’ also represented a significant effort to systematize botanical nomenclature, which would not be standardized until the publication of Linnaeus’ system in 1753.
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