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Botanical, Art, Fruit, Citrus, Ferrari, Hesperides, Rome, Antique Prints, 1646


Giovanni Battista Ferrari (c. 1582 – 1655) (editor)
Cornelis Bloemaert (1603-1684) (engraver)
Botanical Citrus Prints
from Hesperides Sive de Malorum Aureorum Cultura et Usu Libri Quatuor
[Hesperides, or Concerning the Cultivation and Uses of the Golden Apple
in Four Volumes]
Hermanni Scheus, Rome: 1646
Hand-colored engravings
11.5 x 8 inches, image (average approximate)
13.75 x 9.5 inches, overall
$975 each

Bold studies of citrus fruits — lemons, oranges, limes, citrons, and antiquated citrus varieties — each tied with ribbons labeled with the name of the specimen.This work was not only the first taxonomic study of citrus fruit, but the first exhaustive study of a single family of plants or animals. The erudite Italian Jesuit scholar and professor Giovanni Battista Ferrari, a friend of Galileo, compiled it. The project was spearheaded by antiquary and scientist Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-1657), who arranged funding and commissioned the preparatory drawings after seven notable artists of the era. The engravings were done by the Dutch printmaker Cornelis Bloemaert and Johann Friedrich Greuter, and are notable for their meticulous detail and depiction of texture.The original series of 80 plates mainly depicted life-size fruits, whole and in section, as well as foliage and flowers, along with a few allegorical scenes. In addition to the illustrations, Hesperides examined the taxonomy and classification of citrus fruits, including their origin, methods of cultivation, and medicinal uses.

Product Description Continues Below


The light airy look of the free-floating fruits makes this a popular set of prints compatible with a modern minimalist decor. The entire set can be viewed in its entirety online (uncolored) with the text, at the Missouri Botanical Garden web site (see References below).

Cornelis Bloemaert was from a Dutch family of artists (he is sometimes referred to as Cornelis the Younger, as his grandfather was also named Cornelis). Originally trained as a painter by his father Abraham Bloemaert, he studied engraving with Crispijn de Passe and thereafter worked primarily as a printmaker. In 1630, he traveled to Paris and then to Rome, where he was commissioned by wealthy patrons to make prints after paintings and sculptures by Italian masters in their collections. He also made some portraits and religious scenes after his own designs. Bloemaert introduced a nuanced approach to depicting the gradations of light and shadow, which influenced later engravers (Williamson).

Condition: Generally very good, with the usual overall light toning, wear, soft creases. Few marginal tears professionally restored.


“1646: Giovanni Battista Ferrari.” Vanderbilt Medical Center. 16 October 1997. (20 February 2003).

Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs. France: Librairie Gründ, 1966. Vol. 2, p. 45.

Erickson, Robert F. “Giovanni Battista Ferrari.” Missouri Botanical Garden. 1995-2010.,+Giovanni+Battista&creatorID=36 (25 March 2015).

Giannotti, Roberta and Giorgi, Anna Maria. “I Bapt. Ferrarii senensis and Societate Iesu de florum culture books 4.” lista/lista.html?tema=coltivazione%20dei%20fiori (20 February 2003).

“Hesperides sive de Malorum Aureorum.” Rare Books from the Missouri Botanical Garden. 16 May 2002. (20 February 2003).

Williamson, George C., ed. Bryan’s Dictionary of Painters and Engravers. London: G. Bell and Sons: 1930. Vol. 1, pp. 146-47.

Additional information


17th Century