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Gothic and Early Renaissance (1300-1500)

Paintings, illustrations, and tapestries from the late Gothic and Early Renaissance periods. Mainly stylized mushrooms, some not easy to find. Here, we include only works with incontrovertible images of mushrooms. There are many other possible representations of mushrooms or mushroom-like objects that are a subject of specialized scholarship.

Click on any thumbnail below to enlarge.

Anonymous, French School. 14th century

  • Digging for Truffles
  • Original sourcePhysics by Aristotle
  • Medium: Book illustration on vellum
  • Mushroom description: Initial letter “H” shows a man digging, apparently for truffles
  • Location: Bibliotheque Mazarin, Paris

Anonymous, French School. 14th century

Anonymous, German School. 15th-16th century?

Altar Panel of the Holy Family (side panel)

  • Mushroom description: Two small white mushrooms on a tree trunk
  • Location: St. Elisabeth Kirche, Marburg, Germany
  • Note: Seen by B. Oberwinkler

Anonymous, Italian School. 14th century?

The Month of April

  • Medium: Fresco
  • Mushroom description: Group of white agarics under trees in middle foreground
  • Location: Torre Aquila, Castello del Buonconsiglio, Trent, Italy

Anonymous, Italian School. 14th century?

Gathering Truffles

  • Original source: 2644 f.26v. From Tacuinum sanitatis: Terratufule, transcription from 11th century. Arabic work, Kitab Taqwim as-asihha by Ibn Butlan (11th century); also attributed to Albucassis or Elluchasem Eliminthar
  • Medium: Book illustration on vellum
  • Mushroom description: Man picking truffles from the surface of ledges
  • Location: Austrian National Library, Vienna

Anonymous, Italian School. 15th century

The Vegetable Market

  • Medium: Fresco
  • Mushroom description: Vendor and customer, with a basket that may contain mushrooms and holding what may be a stylized mushroom.
  • Location: Castello di Issogne, Val d’Aosta, Italy

Anonymous, Spanish School. Late 13th- early 14th century


Madonna with Child

  • Medium: Sculpture; Size: 74 x 25 x 18 cm.
  • Mushroom description: A sitting Madonna holding the Christ child on her lap holds an object on the right hand that looks like a robust stipitate mushroom
  • Location: Sta. Maria Church, Orduña, Spain
  • Reference: Portilla, MJ. Catalogo Monumental de la Diócesis de Vitoria. Vol. VI. Vitoria: Caja de Ahorros Municipal de Vitoria. 1988.
  • Note: Luis Montes reports that a similar statue is in the portico of the Colegiata de Toro (Zamora, Spain) but the mushroom-like object cannot be interpreted with assurance because of its unique rectangular scales.

Madonna with Child (Vierge à l’enfant dite sedes sapientiae au champignon). 1301-1400

  • Medium: Polychrome stucco sculpture; size: 107 x 51 x 30 cm.
  • Mushroom description: See [a]. A sitting Madonna holding the Christ child on her lap holds an object on the right hand that looks like a robust stipitate mushroom
  • Location: Chapelle Sainte-Anne (Val-Duchesse, Auderghem, Brussel region)|

Madonna with Child

  • Medium:
  • Mushroom description: Madonna standing on center pillar, holding the Christ child in her right arm and a mushroom on her left arm. The mushrooms looks like the one in [a] and [b].
  • Location: Colegiata de Toro (Zamora). “Portico of Majesty” (Romanesque, then Gothic)
  • Reference: Email from Jose Luis Montes March 3, 2005

Bataille, Nicholas. French. 1363-1400. Hennequin de Bruges (called Jean de Bandol). Flemish, Brugge

The Black Horse and Famine panel of The Apocalpyse

  • Original source: 14th century. Bataille did the weaving and de Bruges the painting. The entire tapestry is 140 meters long. Begun around 1375 and completed seven years later.
  • Medium: Tapestry
  • Mushroom description: Clump of three mushrooms, perhaps Agaricus campestris in middle foreground
  • Location: Angers Castle, France
  • Web:

Bosch, Hieronymus. Dutch. 1453-1516, Hertogenbosch

The Haywain (Hay wagon) (central panel)

  • Medium: Oil on panel; size: 135 x 100 cm.
  • Mushroom description: An object resembling a light-colored bolete with a bulbous stem can be seen near the right edge of the middle panel. Further identification seems unwise.
  • Location: El Prado Museum and a similar one at El Escorial, Spain
  • Web:

Bouts, Dieric. Flemish. Haarlem c. 1410-20 -Louvain 1475

Last Supper. 1464-67 (triptych, right panel)

  • Mushroom description: Breads on goblet, in the shape of mushrooms, the so-called Angel bread, possibly Amanita muscaria
  • Location: Louvain St. Peter’s Church, Louvain, Belgium
  • Reference: Alpatow. Geschichte der Kunst II, Tafel IIIa; Bauer et al. Der Fliegenpilz, S. 111 (Auschnitt, black and white). Cologne. 1991. Pacht. Altniederländische Malerei. Farbtafel 11 (in color) and p. 105, figure 84, black and white. Munich. 1994.

Cornhuse, J. van der. Before 1500

World Judgment (Weltgericht)

  • Mushroom descriptionMarasmius sp., Coprinus cf. comatus and Lycoperdon sp.
  • Location: Stadtmuseum, Brugge, Belgium

Di Cosimo, Piero. Italian. 1462-1521

[a] The birth of Christ (Geburt Christi)

  • Mushroom descriptionMarasmius sp. on wall
  • Location Alte Pinakothek, Munich (Inventory #1511)
  • Reference: Mentioned by S. Killermann, 1927
  • Note: Not on exhibit in 2000

[b] The Myth of Prometheus (Darstellung der Prometheus-Sage) 1515

  • Mushroom descriptionAmanita muscaria, Macrolepiota procera and other mushrooms falling from a basket, small mushroom on right
  • Location Alte Pinakothek, Munich. (Inventory #5973)
  • Reference: Kosina, C. 1990
  • Web: Web Gallery of Art

[c] Madonna

  • Mushroom description: Three agarics (Laucoagaricus cf. leucothites)
  • Location Staatsmuseum, Vienna. On deposit
  • Reference: Mentioned by S. Killermann, 1927

Lippi, Filippino. Italian. Prato 1457, Florence 1504

Saint Jerome’s Penance

  • Medium: Tempera on wood; size: 13 x 71 cm.
  • Mushroom description: Indistinct mushrooms in foreground
  • Location: Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence. Painted around 1485 for the Badia, Fiorentina. At the Uffizi since 1935.

Lorenzetti, Ambrogio. Italian. Documented at Siena from 1319-1347

The Good Government (Il buon governo). 1337-1340 (mural)

  • Medium: Oils
  • Location: Palazzo Publico, Siena
  • Mushroom description: Man (carrying truffles?), going home with his black and grey pig. (center, left foreground)
  • Reference: Einaudi, Luigi and Buongoverno (II), Laterza-Collana. Collezione Storica. 2004.

Mantegna Andrea. Italian. Vicenza 1431-1506

The Prayer in the Vegetable Garden

  • Mushroom description: Polypores at the base of dying tree
  • Location: Musee des Beaux Arts, Tours, France

Testard, Robinet. French, active 1470-1523

Original source: The following illustrations are from the Book of Simple Medicines by Matthaeus Platearius (died c. 1161)

  • Medium: On vellum
  • Location: National Library, St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Reference: Platearius, Mattthaeus. The Book of Simple Medicin. Barcelona: Moleiro Editor, S.A. 2006.

[a] Field Scene

  • Original source: Ms. Fr. Fv VI #1 fol. 168v.
  • Mushroom description: Man tilling soil with elephant, deer, and beehive. Three campanulate, stylized, light-colored mushrooms are on a mound.

[b] Hazelnut Bush and Cherry tree

  • Original source: Ms Fr. Fv#1 fol. 162 r.
  • Mushroom description: Three campanulate mushrooms are sticking out of the trunk of hazelnut bush on right.

[c] Three Bushes

  • Original source: Fr. F. VI#1 fol. 163v.
  • Mushroom description: A bush on the left has four clumps of, perhaps, jelly fungi.

Uccello, Paolo. Italian. Florence, 1397-1475

The Hunt in the Forest. ca. 1470

  • Medium: Oil on wood panel, 177 x 73 cm.
  • Mushroom description: The floor of the forest contains some 300-600 white stalked specimens that may well be mushrooms. Some are in circles.
  • Location: Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK
  • Reference: Whistler, C. The Hunt in the Forest, 2001. Oxford: Ashmolean Museum. Schaechter, E. “Mushrooms” in an early Renaissance painting: Uccello’s ”The Hunt in the Forest. 2005. Mycologist 19: 150-151.
  • WebWikimedia

Van der Weyden, Rogier. Flemish. b. Tournay 1399-1400, d. Bruxelles 1464

The Birth of Christ (= Bladelin Altar). 1445. (Middle panel of the Middelburg Altar)

  • Medium: Oils
  • Mushroom description: Group of Coprinus sp. on a thatched roof
  • Location: Berlin Kulturforum, Gemäldegalerie Berlin
  • Reference: Pächt, Altniederländische Melerei. Munich. 1994. Gemäldegalerie Berlin. 200 Meisterwerke, Berlin. 1998.
  • Web: Wikimedia
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