PLENCK, Joseph Jakob, (1738-1807) Attributed to
Zwerg Melone.[Dwarf Melon]. Zucker Melone gestrickte [Knitted Muskmelon - Cantaloupe].
[Vienna]: [late 18th century]. Watercolor and ink, heightened with gum arabic on laid paper, Excellent condition but for a small stain at the bottom edge and very pale foxing here and there. Sheet size: 14 5/8 x 9 3/8 inches.
Original watercolour of melons attributed to Joseph Jacob Plenck
This handsomely drawn rendition of a dwarf melon (probably a Tigger Melon) and a cantaloupe is attributed to Joseph Jacob Plenck, author of many important 18th century medical books, but best known for "Icones Plantarum Medicinalium", a seven volume treatise on all the then known herbs and plants and their medicinal uses. This work was completed in 1803 and contains 758 hand-colored plates. Plenck was born in Vienna to a family of bookbinders. He studied medicine and was a surgeon during the Seven Years' War. Later, he taught medicine as well as chemistry and botany. He is known as the founder of the study of modern dermatology. This depiction of two melons demonstrates considerable artistic sensibility and talent with its modulations of light to dark and convincing sphericality.