The Bishop, Johann Konrad von Gemmingen, commissioned Besler to produce the work, which he compiled over sixteen years, although the bishop died before its completion. Besler had the assistance of his brother and a group of skilled German draughtsmen and engravers, including Sebastian Schedel , an accomplished painter, and Wolfgang Kilian , a skilled engraver from Augsburg. Camerarius' nephew, Ludwig Jungermann — , was a botanist and wrote most of the descriptive text. The emphasis in botanicals of previous centuries had been on medicinal and culinary herbs, and these had usually been depicted in a crude manner. The images were often inadequate for identification, and had little claim to being aesthetic.

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Once upon a time—long before football, baseball, basketball, and hockey—science was a sport, an intellectual adventure between collectors and their cabinets imagine a miniature natural history museum in your rec room. Individuals would pursue exotic plants, animals, fossils, minerals, and archeological artifacts to illustrate in a very tangible way their wealth and intelligence. Science was the most intellectual sport in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. You might think of Basilius Besler as a coach to those with the brains and surplus income to collect intellectual objects.

In a Renaissance home, one important way to display both your wealth and knowledge was to create a cabinet. Surrounding your estate, you would organize a garden filled with exotics collected carefully from around the world. In the spring, colorful tulips from the environs of Constantinople would bloom. In the summer, your garden might feature a rare sunflower or two from America. In the winter, you would study specimens kept in cases filled with seeds, gems, and fossils from Bavarian limestone quarries, plus ponder on the stuffed puffer fish and boa constrictor hanging from your ceiling all designed no doubt to irritate your spouse.

Why have a room filled with strange creatures, odd fossils, and the occasional crystal or two? Why dedicate a portion of your property to a garden filled with plants that were not useful in the kitchen, that were not remedies for common aliments?

Basilius Besler answers his critics in the introduction to his guide for creating a cabinet like his own, published in with the elaborate title Continuatio rariorum et aspectu dignorum varii generis quae collegit et suis impensis aeri ad vivum incidi curavit atque evulgavit :.

This not only seemed not to be alien to and incongruous with my [normal] studies and profession but even to be positively required of it.

So Besler notes that his creation of his own personal cabinet was for his own intellectual development. He needed to collect, to pursue his own curiosity about the natural world about him. Besler second figure from left explaining his cabinet to a visiting dignitary, on the engraved title page of Continuatio Rariorum Besler recognizes that he will have critics of his cabinet, or home natural history museum.

He writes in Continuatio Rariorum :. For I am well aware of the times we live in and of their moral code, and I know full well that this little book [this is, Continuatio Rariorum ] will not be met immediately at first sight with universal approval I knew there would be some who would say that I had tried things beyond my strength and taken up a burden too heavy for my shoulders; others She is continuing the work of a number of my graduate students over the past half decade in trying to understand the origin of gardens and museums at the start of the seventeenth century, in terms of two important books by Besler in the Lenhardt Library, Hortus Eystettensis and Continuatio Rariorum The Garden of Eden from the engraved title page of Hortus Eystettensis So many questions to answer!

Why, for example, in Hortus Eystettensis , do we see a small engraved insert on the title page of God providing a personal tour of the Garden of Eden to Adam? Why do we see similarities in the way in which God and Adam are posed in and Besler and his visitor in ?

Rare books are living entities, windows into long-forgotten ideas, pursuits, and relationships. By allowing students and scholars access to collections like those found in the Lenhardt Library, we open intellectual paths that have long been hidden.

I will keep you posted! Skip to main content. Google Tag Manager. Hortus Eystettensis, Basilius Besler, gardens, and cabinets October


Hortus Eystettensis, Basilius Besler, gardens, and cabinets

Hundreds of flowers were carefully drawn and engraved as they bloomed through the four seasons. Published in , the finished catalogue was the largest and most magnificent florilegium ever made. Sadly, the Prince Bishop never lived to see it, as he died the year before. The Bishop's palace, the Willibaldsburg, was built on a hill overlooking the city. Many of the plants were imported from overseas through merchants, mostly in the Netherlands.


Category:Hortus Eystettensis

Sale Price realised GBP 1,, Hortus Eystettensis. Royal broadsheet x mm. The present copy is the only one known to have been coloured south of the Alps and the only one extra-illustrated. The copy contains 15 additional 17th-century original drawings in water- and body-colour and a hand-coloured engraving of a passion flower, giant granadilla. The majority of drawings are directly on the plate and are very fine, possibly by the artist who coloured the work.

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Biodiversity Heritage Library

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. Basilius Besler. Subcategories This category has the following 7 subcategories, out of 7 total. Media in category "Hortus Eystettensis" The following 20 files are in this category, out of 20 total.


Crown Imperial, from the Teylers Museum copy. Double red peony with a sedum nestling underneath, from the Teylers Mueum copy. It changed botanical art almost overnight. Eichstadt from Matthias Merian, Topographia Franconiae , Besler holding what looks like a sprig of basil, Teylers Museum copy. It proved to be an inspired, if ultimately an expensive, choice. The bishop apparently estimated an outlay of florins would be required.

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