Londra, British Library, ms. Egerton 2020, f. 14v, Stichados


A significant part of the IPSA archive consists of illuminations that come from herbals. A herbal is a catalogue that gathers and describes details referring to the plant kingdom. During the Middle Ages, herbals were a valuable tool since they physically describe plants, fruits, flowers and trees. In particular, they explain medical and therapeutic properties and virtues of every plant, matching every description with an illuminated representation of the subject.

In the Venetian area, thanks to the influence of the University of Padua established in 1222, the representation of natural objects was conducted with accuracy and great attention to detail and truthfulness. From the XIV century, the influence of Pietro d'Abano's rationalism characterised the whole Patavinian scientific method with its focus on objective research.

All these features that indicate scientific detachment and rationality are typical of all the Venetian manuscripts that deal with scientific topics, such as astronomy or medicine.