Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Rubus Iconography: Antiquity to the Renaissance

Authors
item Hummer, Kim
item Janick, Jules - PURDUE UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 21, 2007
Publication Date: November 1, 2007
Citation: Hummer, K.E., Janick, J. 2007. Rubus Iconography: Antiquity to the Renaissance. Acta Horticulturae. 759:89-106.

Interpretive Summary: Bramble images from late Antiquity to the Renaissance are described and assessed for botanical and horticultural information. The earliest surviving European blackberry image is found on folio 83 in the Juliana Anicia Codex of 512 CE which contains copies of several older texts including an illuminated, illustrated, partial alphabetical recension of On Medical Matters written in the first century by Pedanius Dioscorides. Comparisons are made with other blackberry images from later Dioscoridian texts including the Codex Neapolitanus page 32 (7th century), Morgan page 25 (10th century), Grecian 2179 page 82b (8th century), and Arab 2850 page 19 (13th century). Bramble images from the Medieval period include the recensions of Apuleius Platonicus: Leyden Apuleius (600 ), Leech Book of Bald (920) and Bodley 130 (1120). Renaissance images from the 16th century include bramble paintings from a prayer book ca. 1503 to 1508; drawings by Leonardo da Vinci ca.1508 to1510, and a woodcut from Leonhart Fuchs ca. 1542. Images from the ancients represented nature, but deteriorated to crude representations in the medieval period. Images in the Renaissance shunned copying and returned realism to art.

Technical Abstract: Rubus images from late Antiquity to the Renaissance are described and assessed for botanical and horticultural information. The earliest surviving European blackberry (R. fruticosus L. sp. agg.) image is found on folio 83 in the Juliana Anicia Codex (Codex Vindobonensis) of 512 CE which contains copies of several older texts including an illuminated, illustrated, partial alphabetical recension De Materia Medica, On Medical Matters, written in the first century by Pedanius Dioscorides. Comparisons are made with other blackberry images from later Dioscoridian recensions including the Codex Neapolitanus folio 32 (7th century), Morgan folio 25 (10th century), Grecian 2179 folio 82b (8th century), and Arab 2850 folio 19 (13th century). Rubus images from the Medieval period include the recensions of Apuleius Platonicus: Leyden Apuleius (600 ), Leech Book of Bald (920) and Bodley 130 (1120). Renaissance images from the 16th century include Rubus paintings from a prayer book, Horae ad Usum Romanum (Grandes Heures d’Anne de Bretagne) ca. 1503 to 1508; drawings by Leonardo da Vinci (1508 to1510), and a woodcut from De Historias Stirpium of Leonhart Fuchs (1542). Images from the ancients represented nature, but deteriorated to crude diagrammatic representations in the medieval period. Images in the Renaissance eschewed imitative reproduction and returned realism to art.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page