Drawn after nature presents a vivid and complete picture of a unique historical collection of botanical watercolours. Botanists, art lovers, historians as well as the general public will enjoy this publication of the watercolours, their annotations and their history, but above all their supreme beauty and display of craftsmanship.
For over 300 years, the Preußische Staatsbibliothek in Berlin held a most remarkable collection of botanical watercolours. They were catalogued as part of the library’s illustrated manuscripts, or Libri Picturati. These magnificent works of art, rich in colour and detail, were made in the second half of the 16th century in the southern part of the Low Countries.
In the 1970s the complete set of watercolours had been rediscovered and sparked the interest of historians, art historians and botanists alike. Together they set out to unravel the many secrets still held by the Libri Picturati’s watercolours: who had collected them, and why?
A team of pre-eminent European scientists worked together on these and other intriguing questions surrounding the collection. They unveiled the important role played by the famous Dutch botanist Carolus Clusius, who later founded the University of Leiden’s Botanical Gardens.
Drawn after nature contains accessible and informative chapters on the collection’s history, but most importantly: it brings together all of the original 1429 watercolours and sketches, for the first time in one volume, accompanied by their original annotations.