Nature Perfected: The Art of Botanical Illustration, curated by student Lydia Kirchner (‘11), opened last weekend at the Maier Museum of Art. The show focuses on a collection of 19th century botanical wall charts which were recently discovered languishing in the attic of Martin Science.
Lydia gave a gallery talk on the day of the opening (1/23) which discussed the origins of botanical instruction and illustration all the way back to ancient Greece and Rome. Included in the talk were some images from the Vienna Dioscurides, a 6th century CE illuminated manuscript of Dioscurides’ Περί ύλης ιατρικής, a medical treatise written in the 1st century CE and one of the world’s most famous pharmacopoeias.
Botanical illustration has always been a part of botany and pharmacology because specimens wilt and crumble over time. Today, an illustration by a skilled artist can still provide much more information than a dried specimen, a photograph, or even the real thing!
On exhibition in addition to the wall charts, there are other examples of botanical illustration, including several items of special interest to Classicists. A page from a 14th century Vulgate Bible, on loan from the Lipscomb Library’s Francis C. Watt’s Rare Book Room, provides an example of an illuminated manuscript to illustrate the beauty and utility of books like the Vienna Dioscurides. The exhibition also includes an antique copy of The Georgics, Vergil’s great pastoral poem which features an exhaustive list of the trees of Italy, complete with woodcut illustrations.
Make sure to stop by and see the show before it closes on July 31st!
καὶ οὐ πολὺ ὕστερον Ἀλκιβιάδου τὴν φωνὴν ἀκούειν ἐν τῇ αὐλῇ σφόδρα μεθύοντος καὶ μέγα βοῶντος, ἐρωτῶντος ὅπου Ἀγάθων καὶ κελεύοντος ἄγειν παρ᾽ Ἀγάθωνα. ἄγειν οὖν αὐτὸν παρὰ σφᾶς τήν τε αὐλητρίδα ὑπολαβοῦσαν καὶ ἄλλους τινὰς τῶν ἀκολούθων, καὶ ἐπιστῆναι ἐπὶ τὰς θύρας ἐστεφανωμένον αὐτὸν κιττοῦ τέ τινι στεφάνῳ δασεῖ καὶ ἴων
“So, Alcibiades is that guy?” -RGK
Come see Euripides’ HECUBA October 8th, 9th, and 10th @4pm in the Mabel K. Whiteside Theater (The Dell)!
Also this weekend, Randolph College is hosting an academic conference in the Dell: Ancient Drama in Performance: Theory and Practice. More info here.