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Certain artists have reached a degree of excellence in representing vegetable marvels. The first that come to mind are the photographs of Karl Blossfeldt, the drawings of flowers by Joris Hoefnagel as well as by Dürer or Léonard de Vinci (who sketched, among other beauties, a few anemones), the wall paper by William Morris. The book, under a very attractive cover, carries the reader through centuries of travels, during which we run into Arab illuminators such as Abu Ja’far al-Qhafiqi, American radiologists -Dain Tasker and his snapshots of roses from 1935-, baroc painters (the extraordinary oil paintings on wood by Girolamo Pini, dating back to 1615 and kept at the Musée des arts décoratifs in Paris), and even the herbarium of poet Emily Dickinson. The most recent periods are remarkably varied, next to curious tentatives by Marc Quinn (bronze, painted petals), surprising images of marijuanan under an electronic microscope, we see that the ancestral technique has not been lost: Rachel Pedder-Smith, through hundreds of hours at Kew Gardens between 2006-2009, produced delicate miniatures which a Persian master would have been proud of claiming.

Plant, Phaidon, 2016, 352 p., €49.95.

Plant - Collective

Review published in the newsletter #454 - from 22 December 2016 to 11 January 2017

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