Botanical Art

Daisy Lafarge

We have curated a selection of botanical art from across modern history to inspire the senses in the fascinating realm of botany.

Anna Atkins, British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, 1843: The British botanist Atkins, with the assistance of Anna Dixon, used early forms of photography as a method of scientifically recording plant specimens. The scientific publication was the first artist book to use a light-sensitive processing.

annatkins

Credit: J. Paul. Getty Museum

Karl Blossfeldt, Art Forms in Nature, 1928: The German sculptor Blossfeldt used his photographs of natural, botanical specimens to instruct his students. He found “the highest artistic forms” to be in nature, photographing them close up to become abstract and sculptural, more reminiscent of classical architecture than what you might find in the garden.

karlblossfeldt

Credit: Karl Blossfeldt Archive

Corin Sworn, At Inverleith House, 2014: The Scottish contemporary artist Sworn presented a body of work at Inverleith House that used specimens from the herbarium of the Royal Botanical Garden in Edinburgh as a source for material and pigments. The natural dyes extracted by the artist form a series of abstract swathes of colours, displayed alongside the specimens themselves. Through this process, the artist explored chance and the malleable nature of her art.

Credit: RBGE/Inverleith House archive

Alice Meyers, Winterless Skies, c. 2015: Inspired by the Victorian craze for plant collections, Meyers’ photographic series explores how the natural world is never quite able to fit into our man-made structures.

alicemeyrs

Credit: the artist

Macoto Murayama, Kosmos-matrix-i-b, 2015: The Japanese artist creates drawings from microscopic studies of plant dissections, which are then re-modelled with imaging software. Through this he explores the power of scientific intellect clashing with the romantic struggle of understanding nature.

murayama

Credit: the artist/Frantic Gallery

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