Gesner - Crocodile. 304 - 1620 Icones Animalium Woodcut Engraving

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Crocodile. 304

Information: This outstanding and rare hand-colored woodcut is from Konrad (Conrad) von Gesner’s Icones animalium quadrupedum viviparorum et oviparorum, quae in historiae animalium Conradi Gesneri libro I et II. Describuntur, cum nomenclaturis singulorum latinis, graecis, italicis,gallicis, et germanicus plerunque, et aliarum quoque linguarum, certis ordinibus digestae . The work was first published in Zurich in 1560. Gesner attributes many illustrations to Lucas Schan and it is believed he used other illustrators including himself.

Icones Animalium was created to record the zoological world in its entirety and was the first encyclopaedic work of its kind. It became "an inventory of renaissance zoology." The work featured illustrations of both real and mythological creatures. It was published in an age of discovery where the line between fact and fiction was blurred allowing depictions of unicorns, sea monsters, and a person with bird feet to be published in a natural history encyclopedia.

Gesner’s work surveyed the animal world with clear, defined text. Icones Animalium (Historiae animalium) is considered the beginning of modern zoology and a monumental work that attempted to build a connection between ancient knowledge and new scientific discoveries.
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