Italy - Pisa, Museo della Grafica - Palazzo Lanfranchi April 20 – July 15 2013

catalogo - edizioni ets - image : Angela Maria Russo "Musa" watercolour - 2012

At the dawn of the third millennium, botanical painting represents a realm of astonishing vitality and variety in terms of artistic expression. As it is testified by the activity of some of the most important scientific institutions in the world, such as the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the Royal Horticultural Society, the New York Botanical Garden and the Jardim Botanico do Rio de Janeiro, and by specifically focused collections of the highest calibre and prestige, among them the Shirley Sherwood Collection, the Oak Spring Garden Library of Rachel Lambert Mellon, and the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation. Graphic and pictorial exercises in the portrayal of nature spring from and have perennially drawn strength from their close dialogue with science, leading to truly stunning results in terms of stylistic range and expressive quality.
What has fed this vitality as it spreads in a geographic dimension without limits, while reflecting the unique diversity and specificity of local environments, is the awareness of a historic perspective that is deeply rooted in solid tradition. The dialogue between art and science was in fact a fundamental element in the “rebirth” of knowledge that took place all over Europe beginning in the Cinquecento, and painting plants, flowers and fruit (as well still-lives) has represented for centuries one of the most highly appreciated and emblematic of genres.
The aim of the exhibition Botanical Art into the third Millennium will therefore be to present, in a broad international context, the work of some of the most brilliant and refined contemporary interpreters of the genre.
Beginning with the examples of Rory McEwen and Margaret Mee – who in the middle of the twentieth century found striking new ways in terms of artistic sensibility and scientific description to express the modernity of botanical painting – this exhibition will document the variety and richness of languages and techniques, the extraordinary descriptive and interpretative compass of artists who are seeking to capture the beauties of nature in all of its biological registers.
From attentive meditations on the techniques and masters of past centuries to the most audacious experiments with graphic techniques and materials, this exhibition will bring together works ranging from tempera, watercolor and oil paintings to photographs, collages, videos and visual installations, in an evocative and emotion- laden journey through a splendid “virtual garden” of art and science.
Exhibition proposal presented by the Museo della Grafica di Pisa (the municipality of Pisa, and the University of Pisa)
Curators: Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi, Alessandro Tosi.


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