This sketchbook contains thirty-one drawings by the artist and botanist Gherardo Cibo (1512–1600). Born in Genoa to Aranino and Bianca Vigeri Della Rovere, and great-grandson of Pope Innocent VII, Gherardo Cibo spent much of his career in Rome and Bologna, developing his skills as a draftsman while pursuing a passion for botany under the guidance of Luca Ghini. Following travels in Germany, Pisa, Marches, and Umbria from 1532–1539, including a two-year stay at the court of Charles V, and building upon his erudite studies of plants and their landscapes, Cibo established his own herbarium in Rome. His extensive study of the natural world informs the carefully rendered studies captured in the sketchbook’s folios.
The drawings are in pen with violet and brown ink, also occasionally including a blue wash. They depict idyllic homes and villages amid their natural landscapes, as well as some of Cibo’s geological and botanical studies. In the early pages of this sketchbook, three rock studies reflect a careful articulation of planar surfaces, while later folios present quick, graphic line-work in the depiction of plants and simple landscapes. Similarly, the sketchbook’s architectural studies are equally varied, ranging from single structures among rolling hills and trees to complex drawings of entire villages from an elevated vantage point.