Article ID: CBB817740739

A Woodblock’s Career: Transferring Visual Botanical Knowledge in the Early Modern Low Countries (2020)


The Antwerp publishing house Officina Plantiniana was the birthplace of many important early modern botanical treatises. Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the masters of the press commissioned approximately 4,000 botanical woodblocks to print illustrations for the publications of the three Renaissance botanists – Rembert Dodoens, Carolus Clusius, and Matthias Lobelius. The woodcuts became one of the bases of early modern botanical visual culture, generating and transmitting the understanding of plants throughout the Low Countries and the rest of Europe. The physical blocks, which are preserved at the Museum Plantin-Moretus in Antwerp, thus offer a material perspective into the development of early modern botany. By examining the 108 woodblocks made for Dodoens’ small herbal, the Florum (1568), and the printing history of a selected few, this article shows the ways in which the use of these woodblocks impacted visual botanical knowledge transfer in the early modern period.

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Authors & Contributors
Egmond, Florike
Mason, Peter
Lesser, Zachary
Sarah Neville
Hoftijzer, Paul G.
Visser, Robert Paul Willem
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Historical Research: The Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Medicina nei Secoli - Arte e Scienza
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
New Books Network Podcast
University of Chicago Press
Pickering & Chatto
University of Minnesota Press
Science and art
Natural history
Printing industry
Science and culture
Clusius, Carolus
de l'Ecluse, Charles
Monardes, Nicolás
Cesi, Federico
Boccone, Paolo
Medina, Pedro de (1493-1567)
Time Periods
16th century
17th century
Early modern
18th century
19th century
Venice (Italy)
Barcelona (Spain)
Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden
Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

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