"QUANDO L’ARTE SERVIVA A CURARE"
Herbal books between science and art
ART AND SCIENCE AT COSMOFARMA
This year, Cosmofarma Exhibition, the leading Italian pharmacy fair, which will take place in Bologna 11-13 May, will provide an additional reason for attracting visiting pharmacists. Indeed, pavillion no. 34 will host the Exhibit "When art was used for healing", organised by Aboca, the large herbal company based in San Sepolcro.
Also this initiative arises from the cultural communication activities of Aboca Museum and fits into the path started in 1978, which aims at cultivation and processing of organic medicinal plants with the most modern technologies, rediscovering the roots of the age-old relation between man and medicinal plants.
The exhibit, which will take place on more that 700 mq of exhibition space, aims at deepening our understanding of the issues relating to the functional and didactic evolution of the botanical communication between Renaissance and Enlightenment.
Indeed, in this very period, after the discovery of printing, Europe saw the creation of a great quantity of descriptive and figurative works of the plant kingdom. Illustration was conceived on the basis of the science of therapy, nearly a "photograph" of the shape, colour and size of medicinal plants, so as not to misidentify them.
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 selection of herbal texts and prints, amongst which is an exceptional facsimile reproduction of Hortus Eystettensis, one of the most fascinating herbal text of the beginning of the Seventeenth century by the German botanist and pharmacist Basilius Besler, explain how the osmosis between the artist and the scientist could manifest the ideal of beauty, wonder and the extraordinary, typical of an art work, within a text in which the purposes were however purely medical in nature.
Peonies, sunflowers, daffodils, tulips, lilies and a myriad of other species attract and involve the visitor, making him taste the allure of a naturalistic-scientific knowledge expressed in an entirely original way, which represented a fundamental stage to reach modern science. In short, the exhibit celebrates the contribution of art to medicine, following the fascinating theme of "When art was used for healing".
By the exposition-presentation of herbal books of the XVI-XVIII centuries, the exhibit will emphasise the therapeutic uses of plants, representing, in summary, a cross section between medieval knowledge and modern science, between classic culture and experimental science: it is mostly aimed at specialists, which will be able to appreciate the rarity and preciousness of the material presented.