Friday, April 17, 2015

Making an Herbal with Leonhart Fuchs (1501-1566)



Leonhart Fuchs, De Historia Stirpium, Basel 1542, Sp Coll Hunterian L.1.13, Glasgow University Library Detail of illustrators at work from page 897

The author of the Historia Stirpium, Leonhart Fuchs (1501-1566), is known as the 3rd of the German fathers of Botany, after Otto Brunfels & Jerome Bock. Fuchs work was inspired by the Herbarum vivae icones (1530-6) of Brunfels. Fuchs' herbal, however, was conceived on a larger scale than the books of his immediate predecessors. His goal was to reproduce each plant from life, as he stated in his dedication "a picture expresses things more surely & fixes them more deeply in the mind than the bare words of the text...we have not allowed the craftsmen so to indulge their whims as to cause the drawing not to correspond accurately to the truth." 


Leonhart Fuchs, De Historia Stirpium, Basel 1542, Sp Coll Hunterian L.1.13, Glasgow University Library Page 441 Crocus sativus (Saffron)



Leonhart Fuchs, De Historia Stirpium, Basel 1542, Sp Coll Hunterian L.1.13, Glasgow University Library Frontispiece portrait of Fuchs


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