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Johann Christoph Volckamer (1644-1720)

Hesperidum Norimbergensium

Nuremberg, 1713.

Engravings with hand-coloring 

Volckamer’s spectacular illustrations were based on Giovanni Battista Ferrari’s Hesperides, which was the first book entirely devoted to citrus fruit and one of the most sumptuous baroque botanical books. Illustrated by many of the most noted classical painters of the seventeenth century, including Nicholas Poussin and Guido Reni, the Hesperides had a profound impact on contemporary botanical knowledge of citrus fruits and their classifications. Volckamer took Ferrari’s relatively scientific model in a new direction, however, by adding lovely landscape settings below the citrus fruits, which seem to hover above in the skies. The settings include formal gardens and classical villas, perhaps in order to illustrate the places in which the fruits were cultivated, or simply to add a decorative element to the representations. Volckamer’s distinctive images, therefore, were not only of scientific interest, but of considerable aesthetic appeal.