Discorsi di P. A. Mattioli Illustrated by Gherardo Cibo

Rari 278 - Biblioteca Alessandrina (Rome, Italy)

Alternate Titles:

Pietro Andrea Mattioli's Discorsi, Discourses by Pietro Andrea Mattioli, Discorsi di P. A. Mattioli illustiert von Gherardo Cibo

Facsimile edition
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Alternate Titles

Pietro Andrea Mattioli's Discorsi
Discourses by Pietro Andrea Mattioli
Discorsi di P. A. Mattioli illustiert von Gherardo Cibo

Extent / Format

1,728 pages / 35.8 x 25.0 cm

Artist / School

Gherardo Cibo (1512-1600)

Facsimile editions available


A masterpiece of medical-botanical literature, enriched by the colours and miniatures of a great master.

Aboca Editions presents the reproduction of the Discourses by Pietro Andrea Mattioli, in the famous large print version published by Valgrisi in Venice in 1568. The specimen used by Aboca, now held at the Alessandrina Library in Rome, is renowned for the magnificent decorations by Gherardo Cibo, who, in addition to colouring the engraving, completed the background with evocative landscapes produced by his fertile imagination.

From the comment by Flavia Cristiano: "This edition offers us, in all the extraordinary beauty of its artistic accompaniment, a text that documents the path of science and of human thought; a volume that, even if printed in many copies, constitutes, in its individuality, a unique and inimitable work of art; the piece of a story that connects a famous botanist, a painter with a love of botany, an erudite prince and a bibliophile pope, protagonists of an adventure that is more fascinating than a novel: an emblematic example of the irreplaceable importance of a research that uncovers the layers of the past and brings us back our history through the immediate and timeless allure of beauty".

Furthermore, this is how Mattioli expressed himself concerning Cibo's art and, in particular, his botanical illustrations, in a letter dated 24 June 1565: "It really seems to me that they are so alive and natural, that one could not ask for anything better; and most importantly that one can perceive an elegance afforded to them by the decoration with pleasant village landscapes that cannot be felt in the presence of natural images alone. For this reason I tell you that even though I have received coloured drawings of plants from many different places, there is such a difference between these and the former, as one can see between lead and silver or, even better, between lead and gold" (Siena Municipal Library, cod. miscell. D, vii, 2. c. 15 r.).

The two volumes containing the reproduction of the Discourses are accompanied by a commentary volume, examining the importance of Mattioli's work in the history of modern botany and pharmacy, the changes of ownership of the volume decorated by Gherardo Cibo, the biographies of Mattioli, Cibo and Giorgio Liberale da Udine, author of the xylographs printed in 1568 and the history of Valgrisi's typography.

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