Basilius Besler was a Nuremberg apothecary who created one of the first great botanical folios, Hortus Eystettensis (Garden of Eichstätt), in 1613. Working at a time when botanical illustrations were used primarily to identify plants for medicinal purposes, Besler created a monumental florilegium that prioritized the beauty of the plants over their pharmacological usefulness. As a result, Besler’s Hortus Eystettensis acts as a transitional fulcrum in the history of botanical art between the association of plants as medicine to plants as objects of beauty.
Hortus Eystettensis - 1st Edition - Antique Originals
Original hand-colored engraving; circa 1613