Lucas Schan , een kunstenaar uit Straatsburg , vervaardigde een groot deel van de illustraties. Daarnaast zijn ook tal van reeds bestaande afbeeldingen gebruikt, verzameld door Gesner zelf en door zijn vriend en leerling Felix Platter Ontvangst[ bewerken brontekst bewerken ] Conrad Gesner publiceerde tal van werken, maar zijn Historiae animalium bleek zijn meesterwerk. Daar Gesner protestants was, werden al zijn werken op de rooms-katholieke lijst van verboden boeken geplaatst. In Engeland verscheen in een Engelstalige bewerking hiervan, van de hand van Edward Topsell.
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Cum iconibus singulorum ad vivum expressis. Very rare first edition. Folio x mm , pp. Over woodcuts in the text Nissen, Engraved headpieces. Contemporary German blindstamped pigskin over wooden boards, roll-tool panels of prophets and bible scenes, intact brass clasps and catches. Some marginal dust-soiling and occasional marginal spotting, otherwise in mint condition. Inscriptions on title page: Christophero Arnoldo Artini Med.
He wrote prolifically on a wide variety of subjects, but the Historiae Animalia was by far his most influential and most popular publication. In this work, one of the most popular books on natural history until the mid-eighteenth century, Gessner attempted to bring together all that was known about the animal kingdom in his day and to add to this as much new information as possible.
The book is considered the first systematic treatise of the Renaissance and the basis of modern zoology. It was extremely well-received and was reprinted in rapidly succeeding editions during the following two centuries. Gessner was mentioned by Artedi and Linnaeus as well as many earlier ichthyologists as a researcher who influenced them. Due to a relative lack of literature on fish from the classical era, Gessner based this volume primarily on contemporary research and first-hand observation.
As a result, although the species are described in alphabetical order, the descriptions place much emphasis on the physical appearance of species and provide references to wider groups of morphologically similar fish Hendrikx, The latter morphology-based organisation is independent from the physical organisation of the books.
The number of species Gessner described was at the time absolutely spectacular. In his work on fish Gessner placed greater emphasis on the medical component than in his work on other animals, and it appears he regularly used fish in his medical practice. This fourth volume of the Historiae Animalium, on fish and other aquatic animals, first appeared in and was followed by many expanded editions, translations and reissues over the course of the following two centuries.
A vernacular edition, the Fischbuch, which was also based on the Historiae Animalium and contained the same illustrations but an abridged text, was first published in In his descriptions of species Gessner quoted all important publications, most importantly those by the naturalists Pierre Belon , Guillaume Rondelet and Hippolito Salviani He discussed these and supplemented the information obtained from them with new observations.
In addition he obtained descriptions and depictions of species from an extended network of acquainted scholars across Europe. When he received such information on species he was unable to observe first hand, Gessner tried whenever possible to find sources that confirmed the observation.
Occasionally this thoroughness led to confusion, as is demonstrated for example in the inclusion of an asp alongside the first depiction of a pike-perch in a scholarly work. Gessner obtained information on the latter species from four acquainted scholars who all lived and worked near Prague, where the species was known under the name Schied.
The depiction of the asp was taken from the Bavarian civil code, the Bairische Landt Ordnung , which restricted the catch of this species. The confusion stemmed from the fact that the asp was also locally known as Schied. Since the pike-perch at the time could only be found in Eastern Europe and Gessner was not able to verify the information he received from his acquaintances, he included the illustration of the asp alongside that of the pike-perch and added text explaining which information he obtained from which sources.
Recent innovations in the field of printing meant that for the first time illustrations could easily be reproduced and placed within the text of a book. Taking advantage of the opportunities this offered Gessner used illustrations to provide his readers with important information. In particular in this volume on fish and aquatic animals, where more emphasis was placed on describing the physical characteristics, illustrations could demonstrate what the author tried to explain in his descriptions.
Over illustrations were included in the work; over half of these were copied from other books on the subject. The use of his correspondents and of other publications on fish as sources of information meant Gessner was able to describe and depict species from all over Europe, including fish that were not local to Switzerland and he had never seen in real life.
On the Equus neptuni Gessner remarks that it does not exist. The terrifying drawings of whales of Olaus Magnus, like Balaena erecta page and Cetis diversis page , are mentioned by Gessner as examples of animals which exist but have not been correctly depicted.
Despite this, the inclusion of these drawings was used by some later authors of textbooks on the history of science to perpetuate the myth that Gessner was an ardent believer in fabulous animals.
The following can be remarked about the condition of remaining first editions of this work. Copies in excellent condition and in their original binding with intact clasps and catches are rare. It is particularly unusual that the clasps are still present and have not been damaged. Furthermore, while good copies of this first edition can be found it is unusual to find a copy in as good a condition as this one and in such a beautiful original binding.
Conrad Gesner, Published Conrad Gesner Born in Zurich, linguist, naturalist, and botanist Conrad Gesner spelled variously in different locations and publications, often Konrad Gesner or Conrad Gessner dedicated his time to amassing an enormous library and collecting information on the natural world. As a student he had studied classics and language, but afterwards he began traveling and observing the diversity of the natural world. He was particularly enthusiastic about plant life and fossils, and eventually published 72 works, but was always planning for bigger and better works. When he died of the plague in , he left behind mountains of specimens and unfinished works. Historiae Animalium was his masterwork, published between and It was more than 4, pages long, divided into four volumes covering, respectively, four-footed animals, amphibians, birds, and fishes and other aquatic animals.
A cat, in Conrad Gessner, Historiae animalium
Here the boy became familiar with many plants and their medicinal purposes which led to a lifelong interest in natural history. There he attended the University of Bourges and University of Paris. There he broadened his knowledge of ancient languages by studying Hebrew. However he then obtained paid leave of absence to study medicine at the University of Basel His approach to research consisted of four main components: observation, dissection, travel to distant lands, and accurate description. This rising observational approach was new to Renaissance scholars because people usually relied completely upon Classical writers for their research.
GESSNER, Conrad (1516-1565)