The Art of Botanical Painting

Hand-colored botanical engravings by Pierre Jean François TurpinBotanical painting is more than just art, it is the combination of art and science. It is the explanation of a species of a plant in its every facet. For many centuries this type of art work was used and relied on by people that worked in the medical field. It is a recognized field of art and science, one where we can easily record information on a certain plant specimen. The use of botanical paintings can capture detail that cannot even be captured by photography.

Most botanical painting is done of pharmaceutical plants or plants that can be used for medical purposes. There are problems that arise with botanical painting that almost never happen in other types of art. Among the most difficult is keeping the plants in good shape as most begin to wilt just as soon as they are cut. Some illustrators use refrigeration or pressing to prolong the plants so they can be used.

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