Happy Birthday Conrad – #GesnerDay 2017

This is a rolling post collating all the contribution made today to celebrate the 501st birthday of the Swiss polymath Conrad Gesner.

Conrad’s birthday has ended and with it this rolling blog closes. We thank all of those who contributed to #GesnerDay 2017 and made it a great birthday party for Switzerland’s best loved polymath. We hope you will all be back at the same time next year for #GesnerDay 2018.


Conrad Gesner based on a painting by Tobias Stimmer (1539–1584)


Celebrating Gesner at the Smithsonian: Behind the scenes tour video

The Guardian: 16th century ‘zoological goldmine’ discovered – in pictures


Spiky blowfish Gessner had this image drawn in Frankfurt from a dried blowfish. Such dried fish decorated the shops of many European apothecaries at the time. Gessner used this drawing as the model for a printed full-page illustration in the fish volume (1558) of his Historia Animalium, but he made a subtle change. While a hook (from which the fish can be hung) pulls up the dried skin into a bump, that hook disappeared in the printed illustration. In this way he turned a portrait of an individual dried fish into a scientific representation of a fish species. Photograph: Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam

The Renaissance Mathematicus: Putting the lead in your pencil


The first ever published illustration of a pencil from Conrad Gesner’s De rerum fossilium


Dracones (from Gesner’s 1587 »Historiae Animalium Liber V, qui est de Serpentium natura«) h/t Patrick J Burns


Shark teeth depicted in C. Gesner´s “De Rerum fossilium…[]”. Such figures made it possible for other naturalists to compare their fossils with specimens of other collectors or hosted in private, non easily accessible, collections. However the quality of the used wood cuts was still poor and were soon replaced by copper engravings, with a higher reproduction quality.

The Renaissance Mathematicus: Friends

Fraumünster and the Münster close on the altarpiece of Hans Leu the Older (1460-1507) Where Conrad Gesner and Georg Joachim Rheticus went to school and became friends Source: Wikimedia Commons

University of Glasgow Library: Conrad Gesner: Illustrated Inventories with the use of Wonderful Woodcuts

Conrad Gesner ‘Tiger’ (Sp Coll Hunterian A.a.1.2)

Hyper allergic: The 16th-Century Fossil Book that First Depicted the Pencil


Frontispiece image from Conrad Gessner’s ‘De Rerum Fossilium Lapidum et Gemmarum Maxime, Figuris et Similitudinibus Liber’ (1565)

Jeff Ollerton’s Biodiversity Blog: Celebrating Conrad Gesner Day 2017

Gessner House Zürich
Photo: Jeff Ollerton 2008





Today is Conrad Gesner’s 501st birthday! Explore his publications in Biodiversity Heritage Library




Gesner’s (born 1516) “Historia Animalium”  is full of monsters. Why? Monsters Are Real


Scorpions (Order Scorpiones). Conrad Gesner, Historia Animalium, Liber 2 (1586) in @BioDivLibrary: h/t Historical SciArt  

NYAM Blog: Happy Bird-day, Conrad Gesner


SciHi Blog: Conrad Gessner’s Truly Renaissance Knowledge


The Pachyderm, from Conrad Gesner ‘Historiae animalium‘ (1551-58)



Happy B-day, Conrad Gesner! G’s #marginalia re bison in his copy of Icones 1560 #GesnerDay #histSTM @ZBZuerich h/t Michal Choptiany   


Peacock (Genus Pavo). Conrad Gesner, Historia Animalium, Liber 3 (1585) in @BioDivLibrary: h/t Historial SciArt


Gurnard (Dactylopterus volitans?). Conrad Gesner, Historia Animalium, Liber 2 (1586) in @BioDivLibrary h/t Historical SciArt   

Renaissance Quarterly: Ann Blair: The 2016 Josephine Waters Bennett Lecture: Humanism and Printing in the Work of Conrad Gessner


Anglerfish (Order Lophiiformes). Conrad Gesner, Historia Animalium, Liber 2 (1586) in @BioDivLibrary: h/t Historical SciArt  


Sea Monsters for #GesnerDay! Conrad Gesner, Historia Animalium, Liber 2 (1586) in @BioDivLibrary: h/t Historical SciArt  


The naturalist’s library. Conducted by Sir William Jardine: MEMOIR OF GESNER h/t William Ulate  


h/t William Ulate   


Until next year, #GesnerDay! Here’s your #MondayMotivationOwl! Explore more of Gesner’s works in @BioDivLibrary: h/t Historical SciArt





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11 responses to “Happy Birthday Conrad – #GesnerDay 2017

  1. Thanks for the link! Two observations: (i) almost all of the tweets and posts I’ve seen have been animal-focused, and I wonder in Gesner the Botanist is rather forgotten about? (ii) It’s Ollerton, not “Offerton”. Though when I was a kid my Cub Scout pack did once win a competition for the “Offerton Shield”. True story 🙂

    • Will correct! The problem is that his plant book was not published in his lifetime, so most people know him as the ‘father of zoology’ that is why the emphasis is on the animals. As I have commented on numerous occasions the manuscript for his plant book is in the rare books room of Erlangen University my alma mater and my home town. I have seen it, the drawings are amazing.

  2. That would be great Thony.

  3. Pingback: Whewell’s Gazette: Year 3, Vol. #32 | Whewell's Ghost

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