Leonhart Fuchs (1501-1567)
Plate 382: Caltha (Buttercup)
From: De Historia Stirpium Commentarii Insigne
Hand-colored woodcut engravings
Paper dimensions: 14 x 9.5 in.
Frame dimensions: 18.25 x 13 in.
Herbals are books containing the names and descriptions of plants and their medicinal properties. The herbal had declined during the Middle Ages, Western European herbals of that era were based on the works of classical authors, in particular Pedanios Dioscorides, the ancient Greek writer who was the father of medical botany. This would change with the publication of Leonhart Fuchs' illustrated herbal De Historia Stirpium Commentarii Insigne. The plan and organization of the herbal was entirely original with Fuchs, although the work did include some material derived from his Classical predecessors. Fuchs' De Historia Stirpium represented an impressive first step from medieval superstition to modern botany.