(b. 1522, Bologna, d. 1605, Bologna)

Specimens of Nature

Watercolour, 465 x 360 mm
Biblioteca, University of Bologna, Bologna

One of the more prominent members of the university faculty in Bologna was Ulisse Aldrovandi who, although a doctor, received the chair of natural sciences at the university in 1561. Under Aldrovandi's leadership the University of Bologna became the centre for study of plant and animal life around the world. Eighteen volumes containing over 2.900 of Aldrovandi's watercolours show both how wide-ranging his interest was and how precise his observations were in cataloguing the specimens that were kept in his natural history "museum" and in the University's botanical garden, founded in 1587. His drawings are instructive as a measure of the perceived possibility that one could, indeed, catalogue nature completely, one specimen at a time piling up in endless sheaves of drawings.

The picture shows a page from a volume of drawings.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.