(active 510s in Byzantium)

Vienna Dioscorides

c. 512
Manuscript (Codex Vindobonensis Med. gr. 1), 380 x 310 mm
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

From amongst the rich variety of scientific manuscripts of late antiquity, the Vienna Dioscorides, which survived only in part, stands out by virtue of its artistic quality and the number of illustrations. Written in Greek, it is a compendium of six pharmacological and scientific works; an herbarium, minor medicinal works, a book of birds. It consists of 392 full page miniatures, 66 pictures of venomous animals, 47 pictures of birds.

The manuscript, named after one of the authors, Pedanius Dioscorides (1st century AD), was made for Princess Anicia Juliana of Byzantium (462-527).

Folio 6 verso represents the oldest dedication picture known in book painting. It depicts Princess Anicia Juliana, flanked to the left by the personification of magnanimity and to the right by a figure representing knowledge, while at her feet is a personification of the gratitude of the arts.

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