Plant representation in arts may have different scopes, often according to the type of artwork and the different types of representation, i.e., decorative, symbolic, more or less realistic or even scientific. The scientific representation became more common from the onset of the seventeenth century when the scientific method was developed; nevertheless, some scientific representations of plants were realized before by some authors having a realistic approach to arts. The paper analyzes different types of representations through the centuries of two exotic medicinal and edible plants: Momordica balsamina and M. charantia. The examples presented and discussed derive from a search of images made by the authors directly from museums and libraries and from the net searching of artworks as still life and others where plants are more commonly represented. Illustrated herbaria, used for medicinal purposes, printed books having a botanical subject, devotional pictures, two Italian still lifes of the seventeenth century and two early nineteenth century American still lifes, where Momordica is depicted, are described and the modality of representation and botanical diagnostic details analyzed. Also the hypothesized years of the introduction in Europe of these exotic species should be dated back. It was astonishing to detect that the Italian devotional picture contains, with the exception of roots, almost all the diagnostic characters of Momordica balsamina, represented scientifically, comprising also the presence of flowers of both sexes and fruits with different stages of ripening: this was with the awareness of plant sexuality revealed by Camerarius only 100 years later.
|Titolo:||Momordica (Cucurbitaceae) types and accuracy of representation of the diagnostic characters: from Tacuinum sanitatis to American still lifes|
PACINI, ETTORE (Corresponding)
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|