Redoute- Painter of Flora Written by Rhiannon Rosenbaum
Botanicals have captivated people all over the world with their beauty. Floral patterns surround us daily in nature, landscapes, boutiques, decor, fashion, art, and fragrance. But why do we admire them so much?
I think that we love them for their beauty, their meaning, their healing powers, their fragrant and delightful aromas, their uncanny ability to make us smile.
Some see them as a reminder of our humanity. Like us, they are fed by the sun, by the rain, by the soil. They bloom into unique beauties and then they wither and eventually die. We are more alike than one might suppose. What makes our life meaningful is the inevitability of death. We shine for a time and then our earthly life passes. We enjoy flowers in a similar manner. We know we only have them for a short time, but while we have them we do our best to enjoy them.
There are some really amazing artists that do botanicals well, but perhaps the most enduring and significant floral painter of was Pierre-Joseph Redoute, an 18th-century French painter. He truly understood the nature and beauty of the botanical world but even more than that, he was able to communicate this with incredible skill and sensitivity.
Redoute was born in the Belgian Ardennes. He began his career intent on creating religious paintings and portraits, but this all changed when he fell in love with floral painting instead. His interest in florals began when studying the work of the earlier Flemish and Dutch still-life artists. Later “… he studied botany with the noted naturalist Charles-Louis L’Heritier de Brutelle and learned the technique of painting in watercolor on vellum from Gerard van Spaendonck, Flower Painter to the King.” Some of his most recognizable work can be found in the botanical books that he illustrated. These works have influenced many artists since their first printing and will continue to influence artists in the future. Here are just a few.
Quote and biographical info found on https://www.kimbellart.org/exhibition/floral-art-pierre-joseph-redout