Saturday, December 29, 2018

Anselmus De Boodt

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Anselmus De Boodt (1550-1632)

He was a Flemish humanist mineralogist physician and naturalist.(3) de Boodt and Georgius Agricola were fathers of modern mineralogy.(3)

Anselmus de Boodt was born in 1550 from an aristocratic family in Flanders.(3) He studied artes and canonical and civil law.(3) At the end of his studies he went to Padua around 1576.(3) Years later in 1583 De Boodt went to Bohemia where he was appointed personal physician of the holy roman Emperor Rudolf II, and the principal curator of Ridolf’s Kunstkammer in Prague, one of the greatest cabinets of curiosities in Europe.(1) During his stay at Emperor Rudolf II court he studied medicine. In 1584 was appointed canon(a priest) of St. Donat’s Church.

 In 1586 he returned to Padua to continue his medicine study, and obtained a doctorate. The next year he was installed in the imperial botanical garden of Emperor Rudolf II in Prague. One of his De Boodt’s special interests was in minerals, and in 1609 he published one of the first mineralogical treatises of the late Renaissance: Gemmarum et lapidum historia (History of Gems and Stones).(1) At the time of De Boodt fossils were considered to be stones.(1) Many of the illustrations in De Boodt’s books were of fossils. (1)

 He produced the first systematic treatise on minerals, called Gemmarum et lapidum historia. (2) In it, he describes and classifies over 600 minerals based on his own observations and lists over 200 more mentioned by others.(2) He used various categories to classify minerals, dividing them into great and small, rare and common, transparent to opaque, and combustible to incombustible, as well as noting crystalline structure. (2) He also used a three-degree scale of hardness.

De Boodt made many watercolours of native and exotic animals and plants.(3) He filled twelve volumes with 728 illustrations of quadrupeds reptiles birds fish insects and plants.(3) He aimed to depict all creatures of the natural world.(3) He developed a taxonomy and standardisation, which he added in many languages to his drawings. De Boodt made most drawings himself, but sometimes enlisted other artists, such has his compatriot, Elias verhulst.

Works Referenced

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