"QUANDO L’ARTE SERVIVA A CURARE: GLI ERBARI TRA SCIENZA ED ARTE"
The event was conceived within the cultural communication activities of Aboca Museum - The Museum of Herbs of Herbal Company Aboca, and is aimed at deepening our knowledge concerning issues connected to the functional and didactic evolution of botanical communication between Renaissance and Enlightenment, a period that, after the invention of printing, saw the appearance in Europe of a significant number of descriptive and figurative works on the plant kingdom.
The rise in great geographical explorations and the pressure of ever more cultured and demanding customers, seeking rare or novel materials, resulted in a true flourishing both of herbal texts, pride and embellishment of libraries, and of medical-natural gardens, adornment of villas and cities. Botany, initially studied for its medical aspects, found itself investigated for its naturalistic and aesthetic aspects: from the fifteenth century vision, primarily descriptive and not very decorative, as aimed exclusively at health, plants then started to be appreciated for the beauty of their shapes and the splendour of their flowers.
In this period, a real Botanical Renaissance, a significant number of illustrated herbal texts was published. Botany scholars of every nationality tried to make images closer to reality, resorting to the help of real artists for drawing, engraving and painting of the illustrations. The exhibit, with the exposition of rare works, amongst which of prime importance is the seventeenth-century Hortus Eystettensis by Basilius Besler, will try to highlight the dynamics of naturalistic and scientific thought, which was a fundamental stage in reaching modern science. Highlighting also the artistic aspects, this will be an occasion of dialogue between cultures of different time periods and countries. It is aimed at the general public (but also to specialists) for the preciousness and rarity of the exhibited material, which includes incunables and ancient botanical documents, botanical collections from many different regions.
Through the exposition-presentation of herbal texts of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, the exhibition will tackle bibliological, philological, iconological, taxonomic and other aspects and will lay particular emphasis on the therapeutical uses of plants. It will trace, in summary, a unifying thread between medieval knowledge and modern science, between classic culture and experimental science, between archaic representation and artistic renaissance.