By Lack, H. WalterBy (artist) Redoute, Pierre Joseph
He was known as the 'Raphael of flowers' and rightly so: Pierre-Joseph Redoute (1759-1840) devoted himself exclusively to the task of capturing the diversity of the flowering plants in naturalistic watercolor paintings. He worked in Paris as a botanical illustrator for rich and i...nfluential patrons for nearly half a century, during which he documented remarkable, rare plants and flora new to the science of his day. Nearly all of his watercolors were published as copper engravings in large formats and launched on the market with botanical descriptions as sumptuously designed publications in small editions that are today extremely rare and superlative collector's items. The Choix des plus belles fleures et quelques branches des plus beaux fruits ( Selection of the Most Beautiful Blooms and Branches with the Finest Fruits ), issued in 36 parts between 1827 and 1833 is a late work of Redoute's, in which he published 144 hand-colored stipple engravings of his best representations of flora in revised form along with a few novelty items. It conveys a glimpse of the long-vanished magnificence of the greenhouses and gardens in and around Paris which delighted the elite of France in the first part of the 19th century.Read more
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Werner Dressendoerfer is a pharmaceutical historian, academic librarian, and former honorary Professor at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. His particular spheres of interest are the history of the Early Modern herbal, the cultural history of useful and medicinal plants, and plant symbolism in art. He has published extensively on pharmaceutical and botanical history and is the author of TASCHEN's The Garden at Eichstatt, The Lilies, Leonhart Fuchs: The New Herbal of 1543, Pomona Britannica, The Temple of Flora, and The Vegetable Garden. H. Walter Lack is a Professor at the Free University of Berlin and former Director of the Botanical Gardens and Botanical Museum in Berlin-Dahlem. A leading expert in the history of botany, his research focuses on the global transfer of useful and ornamental plants from a cultural historical perspective. He is the author of TASCHEN's Garden of Eden and The Book of Palms. Pierre-Joseph Redoute (1759-1840), was born in Saint-Hubert, now part of Belgium. An official court artist at Versailles, he gained international recognition for his watercolors of flowers and plants, publishing over 2,000 plates depicting over 1,800 species. Redoute perfected the technique of stipple engraving, using tiny dots of color rather than lines, facilitating subtle color variations in his work.
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