Botanical art is the art of depicting plants in an accurate way. This usually involves plant anatomy of the different plant species. A general description usually accompanies the drawings or illustrations. The art are usually watercolor paintings. These are usually printed on magazines and books, particularly reference books. Thus, botanical artists have certain knowledge of plant or plant anatomy.
The earliest drawings of plants and trees date back to ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. Then during the Greek and Roman Era, plant trees and figures adorned many of their day to day objects, from ceramic vases to their coins. During the time of Aristotle, they also had colored drawings of plants and herbs, as mentioned by Pliny the Elder. Records of Pliny the Elder talked about Krateuas and his illustrations. Krateuas was a Greek physician and is now considered the father of botanical art. The oldest surviving botanical art however is the Codex Vindebonensis, which dates back to 512 AD. This can now be seen at the National Library of Vienna. The eighteenth century brought significant changes in botanical art. For the first time, it was now possible to print illustrations in great detail and in colored. The need for botanical artists increased during this time as more and more books started showing pictures of plants. Botanical artists were needed for reference books or botany books, amateur books about plants, books on gardening, natural history books and books about plants and trees in different regions and even different countries. Thus more and more botanical artists have emerged in Europe and the US since then.
Despite the advances in photography, botanical art continued to become an important part in many books, magazines and other printed materials. This is because there is certain kind of beauty and accuracy that only a botanical artist can produce or recreate. In the more recent years, botanical art has seen a dramatic comeback. There is now more demand for works of contemporary botanical artists, such as Wendy hollender. Like other contemporary botanical artists, Hollender uses different media in her arts and like many other botanical artists, she considers herself part explorer and part artists. Depicting plants from various regions across the globe has made her feel the true beauty of nature. And illustrating or painting them makes her see and express the beauty even in the commonest plants around.
Other botanical artists today have similar experience but what makes an increase in the demand for botanical arts today is because only botanical artists can bring together a perfect combination of art and science into the picture. Botanical artists today create accurate pieces of art that shows both the details of the plants as well as their natural beauty as they occur in nature. The process takes discipline as well as keen eye for details. This is why many of the botanical artists today get proper training and education before they can publish their works.