Texts by Giorgio Antei, Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi, Giuseppe Olmi, Alejandro de Avila, Maria Isabel Granen Porrua
2015 / 256 PAGES
A collection of images of Mexican flora and fauna as they appeared to Francisco Hernandez, who made a compendium of them, unfortunately lost. The volume is the reflection of that masterpiece and reproduces the heritage of plants and flowers that were later included in codices and herbaria.
The first visitors to America had many reasons to be astonished; when faced with a flora and fauna never before seen, some thought they had arrived in the ancient Gardens of the mythologies...
Tesoro Mexicano is the reflection of an extraordinarily beautiful and unfortunate codex, a repertoire of unknown animals and plants that the doctor Francisco Hernández recorded while travelling through the territories of Mexico, between 1571 and 1577. In charge of the Spanish crown's expedition, Hernández created a work with an encyclopaedic flavour, illustrated by hand by the natives.
The sixteen volumes, however, were never printed. The only copy remained for a century in the library of the Escorial and was reduced to ashes in 1671, during a devastating fire.
However, one trace remains: the compendium by Nardo Antonio Recchi, who summarised the sixteen volumes in one, with the title of Thesaurus. The circulation of the compendium and some plates throughout Europe meant that Hernández's work was not completely lost. The volume Tesoro Mexicano strives to reconstruct the ghost of Hernández's work, through its reflection in herbaria, bestiaries and masterpieces of scientific illustration from all over Europe.