Books  General Natural History  History of Science 

Visualizing Medieval Medicine and Natural History, 1200-1500

Edited By: JA Givens, M Reeds and A Touwaide

278 pages, b&w illus


Hardback | Oct 2006 | #157929 | ISBN: 0754652963
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £75.00 $95/€85 approx

About this book

Images in medieval and early modern treatises on medicine, pharmacy, and natural history often confound our expectations about the functions of medical and scientific illustrations. They do not look very much like the things they purport to portray; and their actual usefulness in everyday medical practice or teaching is not obvious.

By looking at works as diverse as herbals, jewellery, surgery manuals, lay health guides, cinquecento paintings, manuscripts of Pliny's Natural History, and Leonardo's notebooks, Visualizing Medieval Medicine and Natural History, 1200-1550 addresses fundamental questions about the interplay of art and science from the thirteenth to the mid-sixteenth century: What counts as a medical illustration in the Middle Ages? What are the purposes and audiences of the illustrations in medieval medical, pharmaceutical, and natural history texts? How are images used to clarify, expand, authenticate, and replace these texts? How do images of natural objects, observed phenomena, and theoretical concepts amplify texts and convey complex cultural attitudes? What features lead us to regard some of these images as typically 'medieval' while other exactly contemporary images strike us as 'Renaissance' or 'early modern' in character?

Art historians, medical historians, historians of science, and specialists in manuscripts and early printed books will welcome this wide-ranging, interdisciplinary examination of the role of visualization in early scientific inquiry.


Introduction; Image, word and medicine in the Middle Ages, Peter Murray Jones; Latin crusaders, Byzantine herbals, Alain Touwaide; The illuminated Tacuinum sanitatis manuscripts from northern Italy circa 1380 - 1400: sources, patrons, and the creation of a new pictorial genre, Cathleen Hoeniger; Erudition on display: the 'scientific' illustrations in Pico della Mirandola's manuscript of Pliny the Elder's Natural History, Sarah Blake McHam; Reading and writing the illustrated Tractatus de herbis, 1280 - 1526, Jean A. Givens; Leonardo da Vinci's anatomical studies in Milan: a re-examination of sites and sources, Monica Azzolini; (Hu)moral exemplars: type and temperament in cinquecento painting, Piers D. Britton; Leonardo da Vinci and botanical illustration: nature prints, drawings, and woodcuts circa 1500, Karen M. Reeds; The uses of realism in early-modern illustrated botany, Claudia Swan; Index.

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Jean A. Givens is Associate Professor in History of Art at the University of Connecticut, USA. Karen M. Reeds is an Independent Scholar at Princeton Research Forum/National Coalition of Independent Scholars, USA. Alain Touwaide is Research Associate in the Department of Botany, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, USA.

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