Material Support for the Study of Nature
In 1577 Ulisse Aldrovandi, professor of medical botany at the University of Bologna, traveled to Florence to see the laboratory established by Francesco I de' Medici. While in Florence, Aldrovandi met the artist Jacopo Ligozzi, who at the time was working for the grand duke of Tuscany. Aldrovandi, impressed by Ligozzi's skill in depicting plants and animals from the duke's gardens and menageries, asked the duke for some drawings to include in his own books on natural history. Ligozzi's drawings became the model for some of the woodcuts used in Aldrovandi's massive publication.
Ornithologiae: hoc est De avibus historiae libri XII.
3 vols. in 1. Bologna: Apud Franciscum de Franciscis Senensem, 1599-1603.
Original illustrations by Lorenzo Bennini, Jacopo Ligozzi, Cornelius Swint; woodcuts by G.B. and Christoforo Coriolano. One of Ligozzi’s drawings, depicting a "Fig Branch (Ficus carica) with Exotic Finches (Vidua macroura, Steganura paradisaea, and Hypochero chalybeata)" was exhibited at the National Gallery and reproduced in Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi, The flowering of Florence: Botanical art for the Medici ( Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 2002). The catalog for the National Gallery exhibition is available in Kohler Art Library.
Experiments on Generation at the Medici Court
Life at the Medici court afforded Francesco Redi, Ferdinand II's personal physician, leisure and space to perform experiments concerning the nature of life and generation. Through elaborate series of experiments, aided by scientific instruments like the microscope, Redi was able to determine that spontaneous generation was a myth and that insects hatched from eggs left on exposed surfaces. He also discover how vipers reproduced and how to extract their venom to study its effect on the body. This atmosphere of experimentation drew the Danish anatomist Nicolas Steno to the Tuscan court, where he and Redi collaborated on experiments and dissections.
Esperienze intorno alla generazione degl'insetti.
Florence: All'Insegna della Stella, 1668.
Note the indication of the publisher, operating at the sign of the star. Issued by the same publisher as the observations on the viper of 1664.
Esperienze introno agli'insetti. In Opere di Francesco Redi.
Florence: Giuseppe Manni, 1742-1760.
Opusculorum pars prior, sive experimenta circa generationem insectorum.
Amsterdam: Apud Henricum Wetstenium, 1686.
Included in this volume is De ave diomedea dissertatio by Friedrich Lachmund (1635-1676).
Osservazioni intorno alle vipere.
Florence: All'Insegna della Stella, 1664.
The prodromus to a dissertation concerning solids naturally contained within
London: J. Winter, to be sold by Moses Pitt, 1671.
Elementorum myologiæ specimen, seu musculi descriptio geometrica.
Amsterdam: Apud Johan. Janssonium a Waesberge, & Viduam Elizei Weyerstraet, 1669. From the collections of the Historical Services at Ebling Library.