“Draco arbor,” in Libri Picturati A.23.028. Watercolor. Jagiellonian Library, Kraków

Dr Gaston Javier Basile, who was a fellow at the Warburg Institute in 2019, has been honoured with the William Nelson Prize for the best article published in Renaissance Quarterly during 2023. Basile's award-winning essay, "Dragon’s Blood or the Red Delusion: Textual Tradition, Craftsmanship, and Discovery in the Early Modern Period," offers a fascinating exploration into the cultural significance and varied interpretations of sanguis draconis, or "dragon's blood," during the sixteenth century.

Basile's research, the groundwork for which took place during his tenure at the Warburg Institute, weaves together diverse sources including early print and manuscript books and archival documentation. His research sheds new light on the complex web of interpretations surrounding dragon's blood, ranging from humanist treatises to botanical discoveries and artistic applications.

Quoting from the Prize Award Committee's citation, Basile's work is praised for illuminating this legendary phenomenon, with the committee noting, "Basile succeeds in unraveling a complex of epistemic paradigms to show how different knowledge communities... assigned different meanings and contexts to this bewildering red substance." This recognition not only celebrates Basile's scholarly achievement but also underscores the Warburg Institute's commitment to fostering interdisciplinary research.

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