chapter  8
34 Pages

Leonardo da Vinci and Botanical Illustration: Nature Prints, Drawings, and Woodcuts ca. 1500

ByKaren M. Reeds

Scanning the contents of the precious volumes known collectively as the Codex Atlanticus, the eye stops short at the image of a single sage leaf (Fig. 8.1). The leaf’s stem, midrib, veins, and curved edge stand out as dense black lines against the paler ink of the surrounding manuscript text and the paper itself.1 That crisp

* I gratefully acknowledge helpful comments from those who heard pieces of this research over the past decade as well as stimulating conversations with Cynthia Pyle, Sandra Raphael, Diane Voss, and the late Phyllis Bober. Special thanks are also due to those colleagues who so generously offered their time, resources, and expertise, especially Beatrice Koll, Bruce Bradley, Giulia Bartrum, Roderick Cave, Martin Clayton, J. V. Field, Jean Givens, Cathleen Hoeniger, Renata Sadlova, Sergio Toresella, Crystal Hall, and Alain Touwaide. I am deeply grateful to Professor Margaret Schleissner for the extended loan of a microfilm of the Prague manuscript and to Mr Lawrence J. Schoenberg for generously permitting me to examine the Schoenberg herbal and to reproduce its images here.