This printed book is an astonishing example of medical-botanical literature, embellished with the colors and miniatures of the great master Gherardo Cibo. The Discourses by Pietro Andrea Mattioli (1500-1577) were printed by Valgrisi and published in Venice in 1568. The book is renowned for the detailed decorations made by Gherardo Cibo, who colored the engravings and completed the background with imaginative landscapes.
The Discourses by Mattioli Illustrated by Gherardo Cibo: A Book of Precise Botanical Illustrations
This volume contains the Italian translation of “De Materia Medica”, the herbal of Pedacius Dioscurides, a botanic and physician who lived in the first century CE. Pietro Andrea Mattioli revised and enriched Dioscurides’s herbal.
This printed volume of Mattioli’s fundamental text on the therapeutic characteristics of plants is illustrated with detailed representations of the medicinal plants. The refined quality of the engravings helped the readers to identify the species. Additionally, descriptions and comments by Mattioli were printed below each illustration providing scientific information of the featured species.
The Most Refined Edition of the Discourses
Pietro Andrea Mattioli was a doctor active in Trento for over ten years and then in Gorizia. In 1544, he published in Venice the first edition of his translation of the Dioscurides from Latin to Italian. Mattioli’s edition with a rich commentary was very successful and several publications followed the first edition.
The volume illustrated by Gherardo Cibo represents the most elegant edition of Mattioli’s book. For centuries the book was a fundamental reference text for scholars of botanic, herbalists, collectors of plants and medical herbs. Mattioli himself praised Cibo’s production for the remarkable elegance and accuracy of the illustrations.