In the 17th century, Holland’s Golden Age, there was an enormous flowering in art. This included illustrations of the natural world. One reason was the huge scientific interest in the animal and plant world, in zoology and botany. Animals and insects from home and abroad were studied and classified, native and exotic plants were cultivated in botanical gardens and submitted to scientific analysis. Artists put themselves at the service of scientists, trying to illustrate animals and plants as faithfully as possible with pen and brush. The beauty of flowers, animals and snail-shells make them inherently fascinating, and these illustrations, reproducing their subjects with such exactitude, could not fail to be attractive as works of art, exerting all the charm of the small.
This small studio exhibition, comprising around 27 drawings and prints from the Kupferstichkabinett’s collection, complements the large exhibition Maria Sibylla Merian and the Tradition of Flower Illustration, on display from 7 April to 2 July 2017 in the upper gallery of the Kupferstichkabinett.