Gardens have always been a source of wellbeing and joy, with flowers providing both visual and olfactory delight. The use of flowers in the visual arts as symbols or ornaments developed into botanical portraiture. Towards the end of the sixteenth century the floral still life was born. Pictures became an important aspect of the study of nature and its illustration. Artists specialising in flower painting – a significant number of them women – also left their mark on botanical publications.
A proper history of gardens in Finland begins with the work of two naturalists, Pehr Kalm (1716–1779) and his teacher Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778). At the time there was a strong link between botanical research and garden art. Gardeners prided themselves with their rare plants. Every gardener creates a personal paradise.
The exhibition includes paintings from European collections by Rachel Ruysch, Ambrosius Bosschaert I, Cornelis de Heem, Jacob Marrel and many others.
Accompanying the exhibition is the catalogue Linné ja pieni pala paratiisia | Linnaeus and Glimpses of Paradise by Claudia de Brün and Kirsi Eskelinen with essays by Claudia de Brün, Mikael Ahlund, Klara Alen and Aaja Peura.