Home > Press >

“Lions, Lovage and Lying Stones”

Press Release No. 1/2009
15 05 2009
Opening of the exhibition “Illustrated Nature Books since Konrad von Megenberg” at Heidelberg University Library on 28 May 2009 — Everyone welcome
Opening of the exhibition “Illustrated Nature Books since Konrad von Megenberg” at Heidelberg University Library on 28 May 2009  
Foto: Universitätsbibliothek
Konrad von Megenberg is generally considered to be the late-medieval pioneer of German scientific prose angled at a lay audience. The 700th anniversary of his birth is a welcome opportunity to take a closer look at his best-known work, the “Book of Nature”, of which the Heidelberg Bibliotheca Palatina possesses four medieval manuscripts.

In line with the medieval view of the world, Konrad places homo sapiens and the cosmos at the beginning of his book, proceeding from there to systematise and classify the “natural things” making up the three other realms of nature identified as such at the time (zoology, botany, geology). In the late Middle Ages the book was adorned with impressive and highly telling illustrations. Like the texts, they are part of a long and venerable tradition and in their turn inspired many later illustrators until well into the modern age.

Foto: Universitätsbiböiothek
The exhibition follows the structure of the “Book of Nature”, outlining the various stages of its ongoing history against the relevant culture-historical backgrounds. As it developed, it increasingly concentrated on individual species and also undertook a division of the world into geographic regions. Over 100 authors are represented with their works, including Sebastian Münster’s all-embracing Cosmography, Conrad Gesner’s animal encyclopaedias, Maria Sybilla Meran’s collection of caterpillars and butterflies and Linnaeus’ systematic classification of plants. Progress in the range and scope of natural history from the late Middle Ages to modernity is impressively reflected in the manuscripts, incunabula and prints on show at the exhibition.

The exhibition opens on 28 May 2009, 6 p.m., with a special evening in the basement of Heidelberg University Library.


Speech of Welcome
Dr. Veit Probst
Heidelberg University Library

Konrad von Megenberg: A Universal Scholar of the 14th Century
Prof. Dr. Franz Fuchs
Department of History
Würzburg University

Introduction to the Exhibition
Dr. Margit Krenn, M.A.
Heidelberg University Library

The exhibition is on show at Heidelberg University Library (exhibition halls) from 29 May to 31 October 2009. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the exception of state/national holidays. Admission free.

Dr. Sabine Häußermann
Publicity Officer
Heidelberg University Library

General inquiries from journalists can also be addressed to
Heidelberg University
Communications and Marketing
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Public Information Officer

Irene Thewalt
phone: +49 6221 542311
Editor: Email
zum Seitenanfang/up