It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Shakespeare's Bouquet

Fairest Flowers by Beth Bradford, Cymbeline, Act 4, Scene 2, Lines 280-286 (watercolor, ink and colored pencil).  The romantic comedy Cymbeline will be performed at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival from July 14th through August 7th. 

To honor the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death the book First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare is on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library to all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. University of Colorado, Boulder was named the Colorado host and the First Folio will be on display in the CU Art Museum from August 9th to August 31st, 2016.  To complement the folio the Norlin University Library in Boulder is exhibiting a great number of works from the School of Botanical Art and Illustration. All these 20 art works reflect plants found in writings of the Bard
If you are in Boulder, this beautifully installed exhibit is absolutely worth the visit. Other programs and events connected to the First Folio in CU-Boulder can be seen here.
Please click here to see some photos from the exhibit. Shakespeare's Bouquet will be on display until October 14, 2016. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Thursday, May 5, 2016

April in the Classroom

Pansies from Mysterious Yellows by Shiere Mellin 

Some of us were travelling in April while those who stayed home were working hard in the classroom. We had several entry level and advanced classes completed recently. To see some examples of the work, please click here
Tomatillo from Pencil I by Azara Golston

Shakespeare's Bouquet

(please click to enlarge)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

2016 Arts and Archives Tour: Department of Archives and History at the NHM in Vienna

Jan Gabriel Pretre, "Napoleone Imperiale", colorized copper engraving,1804 (Napoleonaea imperialis P.Beauv.). 
This new species was dedicated to Napoleon and presented on Oct. 8  1804 at the Academy of Sciences in Paris. This is the third example known of the depiction (the other two are in Paris and include the the plant description). Since Napoleon had already been exiled on St. Helena when this appeared, the dedication and the Imperial eagle were removed from the later printings. There is no record how this extraordinary print came to the Natural History Museum in Vienna.

The final destination of our 2016 Arts and Archives tour was the Department of Archives and History at the Natural History Museum of Vienna.  The department consists of several main collections; our focus was on the original paintings, i.e., the picture collection. We were also able to visit their conservation unit.  Our excellent guides were the department head and her crew.
We were fortunate to see a fraction of the thousands of original drawings which are housed in this department. Some of the biggest parts of the collections consist of around 2,500 pencil drawings by Ferdinand L.  Bauer (1760 – 1826), purchased by Emperor Franz I, the husband of Maria Theresa during the later part of the 18th century.  The collections also include 3,400 plates of Aaron's rod plants (Araceae) from the Heinrich Wilhelm Schott (1794 – 1865) collection, purchased by Emperor Franz Joseph I, and numerous other picture collections.

I wish we would have had more time to spend here.To see some of the originals we could see, please click here. 

From the picture collection of Heinrich Wilhelm Schott. His collection of mainly the Araceae-family includes 3400 plates. Schott too part in the Brazilian expedition organized by Emperor Franz I in 1817-1821. The gouache painting is by Ed. Nickelli and Wenzel Liepoldt. The collection includes also plates painted by Ferdiand Bauer, Wenzel Liebold, J. Oberer, J. Seboth and Zehner. 

In the end of this visit we also had the possibility to do another Museum Marathon before the Museum of Natural History closed the doors for that Monday.  

The Natural history Museum houses one of the most important mineralogical collections in the world. The 1000 different minerals are systematically arranged in four different halls. 

Botanical Projection by Katie Scott

The multinational French advertising company Publicis commissioned Katie Scott to create this beautiful installation to their London Office. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

2016 Arts and Archives: Reichenbach - The Orchid King

 Fraction of the herbarium collections at the Naturhistorisches Museum in Wien

One of the absolute highlights of our 2016 Arts and Archives tour was the visit to the Herbarium of the Natural History Museum in Vienna which was established in 1807. Its current holdings are approximately 5.5 million plant specimens. The herbarium is especially rich in type specimens (around 200,000). Unfortunately one sixth of the collection was destroyed during the Second World War, however the herbarium is today ranked among the top five botanical collections in the world.  We focused especially on the Reichenbach orchid collection which includes over 70,000 orchid documentations and was willed to the Natural History Museum by the German Botanist Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach in 1889. We got an impressive presentation of the vast collection by Armin who is part of Prof. Vitek's team at the herbarium. 
Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach was born in 1823 in Leipzig and died in 1889 in Hamburg. Even though orchids were his special interest from the age of 18 years, he also helped his father to describe and illustrate the plants of Central Europe (Icones Flora Germanica et Helvetica, 1850) in which Heinrich Gustav was responsible for over 1500 drawings. Xenia Orchidacea published in 1851 included about 900 drawings by H.G. Reichenbach. Reichenbach was the leading orchid expert of his time; he studied and classified a great number of orchids which were shipped to him especially from South America and Asia. His devotion to orchids was described as a manic obsession (only orchids can do this to you).
For more pictures from our visit, please click here.
Reichenbach's drawings and notes to the type specimen of Cypripedium superbiens = Paphiopedilum 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

2016 Art and Archives: Mucha and the Prague Botanical Garden including the St. Claire Vineyard

We enjoyed a guided tour at the Mucha Museum housed in the Baroque Kaunicky Palace. AlphonseMucha (1860-1939) was one of the most celebrated artists of the Art Nouveau period. 
We got an extensive overview of the artistic work of Mucha with special attention to his time in Paris (1887-1904), internationally the most celebrated period of his work. We saw the original paintings for the set of posters from this period, including the most important made for Sarah Bernhardt. A set of his characteristic decorative panels and a number of examples from Documents D√©coratifs (1902) give an idea of Mucha´s conception of Art Nouveau. We also saw his Parisian sketchbooks, never exhibited before. We also saw a large selection of the photos of Mucha’s family and models for the posters. Photography was not allowed. 
After that we stopped by the Municipal building which is completely decorated by A. Mucha. You can see pictures of that here.
The afternoon was spent at the Prague Botanical Garden. We got an exceptional tour arranged by the horticulture and education department 

Finally before leaving we had some refreshments at the Gardens' vineyard. The vineyard was founded most probably during the reign of King Vaclav II (1278–1305). and has a beautiful view of the Moldau river and Prague. The vineyard produces some 40 different types of table grapes and as many types of vine grapes.

We were able to taste three different white vines, one rose and one red vine after the tasty cold cuts and bread.
For more pictures, please click here.

2016 Arts and Archives: Albertina

 A newly discovered Jacopo Ligozzi painting: Two fava bean plants and a bird, circa 1600; tempera on velum

Our last full day in Vienna was divided between Albertina and the Natural History Museum. I will be doing two separate postings about these locations.
Albertina houses one of the most important and extensive graphic art collections worldwide including around 50,000 drawings and watercolors in addition to some 900,000 graphic art works from the late Gothic era to the present. Albertina does not collect digital art, however most of their collections are digitized. 
We were privileged to spend several hours in the study hall with the chief curator.  He had prepared us a selection of botany-related works from early 15th century to the modern time and generously discussed the material with us and answered all our questions. We also saw two newly discovered Jacopo Ligozzi paintings from around 1600.

Selection of the material we could study can be seen by clicking here

Sunday, April 24, 2016

2016 Arts and Archives: Melk Abbey

The north side of Melk Abbey seen from the town of Melk

The Benedictine Melk Abbey is located just west of Vienna and was our destination for Sunday. Melk has always been an important cultural and spiritual center for Austria and as early as 976 the castle of Melk became the residence for the Markgrave for the present day Lower Austria.  In 1089 the castle was given to the Benedictine monks and since the 12th century a school has been connected to the monastery. The school is still active non-boarding school for all religions. The Abbey is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Abbey houses a museum with several beautiful installations. The Abbey Library is an active library and houses around 100,000 volumes (theology, philosophy, medicine and law).
The monastery church from the beginning of the 18th century is an excellent representative for the baroque style, hard to describe in words.
 The Baroque monastery church
The monastery also houses a garden which is opened for the season in May.
On our return trip to Vienna we took the boat and were able to enjoy the vineyards and castles along the Danube river.
For more pictures from our day, please click here