“Powerful Grace Lies in Herbs and Plants”

Herbarium coversheet

This important book by Brunfels marked the beginning of modern taxonomy or scientific classification. It was printed in Strasbourg, where the German botanist and physician moved in 1524. He founded a school there and focused his research interest on botany and medicine. Along with Fuchs and Bock, Brunfels broke with the tradition of stylized plant illustration. His Herbarum is a return to nature: the plants in it are represented as they appear to the eye and not in their conventional form as in earlier herbals. The woodblocks for the book were executed by Hans Weiditz. Following Brunfels’s lead, other sixteenth century herbals featured woodcuts made from live specimens.

HERBARUM VIVAE EICONES. Strasbourg: Johann Schott, 1530.
(Missouri Botanical Garden)

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