Historia Naturalis: De Arboribus et Fructicibus

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Alternate Titles:

Historia Naturalis: De Arboribus et Fructicibus, Historia Naturalis: Arborum et Fructicibus

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Codiology

Alternate Titles

Historia Naturalis: De Arboribus et Fructicibus
Historia Naturalis: Arborum et Fructicibus

Type
Extent / Format

784 pages / 38.0 x 22.0 cm

Origin
Date
1649-1667
Style
Genre
Language
Artist / School

Author: Johannes Jonstonus (John Jonston) (1603 - 1675)
Engraver: Matthaeus Merian The Younger (1621 - 1687)

Illustrations

137 copperplate engravings

Short description

The Historia Naturalis by John Jonston was the primary work of the zoology and botany of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. In his comprehensive encyclopedic work, the Polish doctor and Renaissance man wanted to compile the knowledge of the world, order it, and thus make it more easily accessible. One of the books of his Historia Natrualis is concerned with botany. The wonderfully colored copperplate engravings, which illustrated all of the descriptions and adorn the entire work of John Jonston, originated from Matthäus Merian the Younger. This vividly artistic furnishing of the work is also responsible for the great reception and popularity enjoyed by the Historia Naturalis of John Jonston.

Facsimile editions available

Description

Historia Naturalis: De Arboribus et Fructicibus

The Historia Naturalis by John Jonston was the primary work of the zoology and botany of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. In his comprehensive encyclopedic work, the Polish doctor and Renaissance man wanted to compile the knowledge of the world, order it, and thus make it more easily accessible. One of the books of his Historia Natrualis is concerned with botany. The wonderfully colored copperplate engravings, which illustrated all of the descriptions and adorn the entire work of John Jonston, originated from Matthäus Merian the Younger. This vividly artistic furnishing of the work is also responsible for the great reception and popularity enjoyed by the Historia Naturalis of John Jonston and the fascination it still invokes in its beholders.

A Significant Renaissance man

The author of the famous biological book of reference was John Jonston (1603-1675), the son of Scottish parents, a doctor, and a Renaissance man from Poland. Through tours and visits of study across all of Europe and for the sake of his exceptional intellectual curiosity, John collected a general knowledge that encompassed a variety of disciplines. He spoke several languages and transmitted his knowledge as a tutor and tour guide to young nobles, among other things. He was famous nevertheless through his numerous publications concerning raising children, philosophy and theology, history, but also medicine and mineralogy, among others. Jonston’s pedagogical aim was a comprehensive general education.

The Famous Historia Naturalis

John Jonston attained great fame due to his incomplete magnum opus. His comprehensively illustrated depiction of the world of plants, animals, and people was the magnum opus of zoology and botany for a century until the publications of Carl von Linnés’ Systema naturae**. One of the volumes is dedicated to botany and addresses trees and fruits in the title. The historiae naturalis de arboribus et fructibus, which is subdivided into ten books, appeared in Frankfurt in 1662. Numerous new editions and translations from the Latin attest to the popularity of the Historia Naturalis.

A Biological Reference Book with Artistic Adornment

The listing and describing of trees and fruits was wonderfully illustrated with copperplate engravings from the atelier of Matthäus Merian the Younger (1621-1687) in Frankfurt. Merian was active as a painter, copperplate engraver, and publisher. He learned his craft from such great masters as Joachim von Sandrart and Anthonis van Dyck and took over the famous publishing house of his Father, Matthäus Merian the Elder. The illustrator created his detailed and wonderful depictions for Jonston, sometimes according to an example from earlier researchers or simply from nature. **The colored illustrations together with the thorough descriptions already made the botanical reference book of John Jonston a huge success in the 16th century and is an entertaining and informative read up to the present.

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