Splendid illuminated manuscripts of incredible beauty, but also of high scientific value, on display at the National Library of Naples: images that testify to the role played in allowing medical science to be handed down, remains of great importance and rarity, a reference for health science until to the modern age. The exhibition “Illustrated medicine. Art and science from the Middle Ages to the early modern age. Manuscripts and printed books of the National Library of Naples” will be inaugurated on Sunday 4 December, at 11.30 am: it will be presented to the public by Maria Iannotti, director of the National Library of Naples, and the curators Daniela Bacca, Teresa D’Urso, Claudia Grieco , Andrea Improta and Sandra Perriccioli. True marvels parade before the visitor’s eyes: the famous and very rare Neapolitan Dioscorides, the manuscripts of the famous School of Salerno which played a leading role in the development of medical studies throughout the Middle Ages, among these the commentaries of Galen (c. 129 -201 AD) to the works of Hippocrates (c. 460-377 BC); and Celso’s De Medicina which is among the medical texts produced in Naples in the 15th century, probably made for Ferrante d’Aragona, Duke of Calabria (c. 1455-1458). The itinerary of the exhibition (open until 5 February 2023) documents the dawn of medicine and its progressive development and highlights the affirmation since antiquity of an already very modern vision of care that looks at man in a complete way and takes examines the concept of staying in good health for a long time starting from assistance, spa treatments and hygiene rules.
Among the curiosities on display is the registration number of the Neapolitan brotherhood of the hospital of Santa Maria del Popolo degli Incurabili. At the beginning of the file, the coat of arms of Emperor Charles V appears, who was among the first governors of the brotherhood, alongside those of Pope Leo X and of the city of Naples. The exhibition itinerary allows us to grasp the development of artistic languages between the early Middle Ages and the modern age and at the same time documents the importance of book illustrations in transmitting health care, among the curiosities on display “The therapeutic benefits of the thermal waters of the zona flegrea” known since the 16th century, protagonists of the elegant woodcuts illustrating the enlarged edition of Pietro da Eboli’s “De Balneis puteolanis” and the “breaking latest news of Partenope”, printed in Naples respectively in 1507 and 1526. On the occasion of the Extraordinary opening of places of culture, Edition 2022, set by the Ministry of Culture on Sunday 4 December, the National Library of Naples Vittorio Emanuele III opens the monumental rooms on the first floor to the public from 10 to 14 with free guided tours of the sections and collections bookshops (info www.bnnonline.it).