Londra, British Library, ms. Egerton 2020, f. 4r, Citron

Archive of the Patavinian Scientific Images

IPSA is an online digital archive that gathers images and texts elicited from ancient manuscripts (from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance). In particular, the images contained in the archive focus on botany, astrology and medicine. IPSA is a web application designed and realised by the University of Padua. Its main application is to allow and facilitate the study of the scientific tradition during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Starting from the Middle Ages, objectivity in research and in scientific representation were distinguishing features of the University of Padua. The images contained in the IPSA archive display some extremely innovative features, both from an artistic and a scientific point of view:

  • Botanic images are accurate and precise, because they were drawn from live specimens.
  • Astronomical illuminations are depicted following scientific criteria. All the constellations are represented complying with the classical and the Arabic tradition, but, at the same time, they express a new kind of astrology, based more on science rather than magic.
  • Medical images are detailed and thorough.