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by Nautilus

2 hand-painted watercolor woodcuts from the fourth volume of Historia animalium, published in Zurich in 1563.

Written by Conrad Gessner, the work is a powerful compendium of the animal species known at the time, sometimes described in a realistic way but in most cases drawing on the fabulous medieval bestiaries, populated by mermaids, unicorns and giant sea serpents. The depiction of the whale is the one included by Swedish ecclesiastic Olaus Magnus in his famous Carta Marina of 1539, where threatening sea monsters sail the seas and attack any vessel that ventures to discover unknown lands