Whereas the earliest history of illustrations accompanying the text of Hyginus’s De astronomia remains a mystery, the iconography found in fifteenth-century illuminated manuscripts is relatively straight-forward and fairly consistent. Intriguingly, however, the woodblock images in the first illustrated edition of the text (Venice: E. Ratdolt, 1482) do not appear to follow any known Hyginian model, but closely resemble the idiosyncratic drawings that accompany the texts of Michael Scot’s Liber introductorius. This paper explores current assumptions about Ratdolt’s pictorial model and traces the impact of his illustrations on subsequent generations of astro-mythological treatises.
Astronomy. Manuscripts. Incunables Classical tradition. Book illustration. Illumination. Italian humanism.
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