Botanical art has a rich history, dating at least as far back as 512 when the daughter of a Roman emperor received an illustrated work called the Codex Vindobonensis. This codex is the earliest surviving example of botanical illustration. Due to the history of this art form there are many people working to preserve it, and keep it current, and yet, even among art majors the botanical arts are little known.
1. What is botanical art?
Botanical art is simply art for which the subject is plant life. This is traditionally done in watercolor paintings, but it is now more common to see botanical art in different mediums such as pastel, oil, and acrylic paint. However, botanical art is not just about pretty paintings. Professional illustrators strive to show their subject matter in scientifically correct, and accurate representations. Leaves, roots, seeds, flowers, shoots, and fruit are all captured in exquisite, and lifelike detail.
2. Are there any contemporary botanical artists?
Yes! Take for example Wendy Hollender. She is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists, an author, artist, and also an instructor in the art of botanical illustration. Karen Coleman, Debbie Bankert, and Ann Bennett are also contemporary artists in the field worth investigating.
3. What is The Society of Botanical Artists?
The Society of Botanical Artists is a community that promotes botanical art and botanical illustration artists. They hold exhibitions, create art books, and support the work of artists in their field. There are a number of different communities and societies around the world, including the Royal Society of Botanical Artists, the Botanical Art Society of Australia, the Botanical Artists of Canada, and of course The American Society of Botanical Artists.
You can approach your closest botanical society for more information about where they will be exhibiting their work, and how you can take classes to create your own beautiful illustrations. Botanical artists are bridging the gap between scientific observation and artistic appreciation. Even today in the world of high quality cameras, their work captures a unique essence of plant life, and is worth experiencing.