In 1543, Leonhart Fuchs created De Historia Stirpium, an extraordinary work on botanical illustration. For the first time in history, 343 plants were described with the newest scientific criteria, specifying their aspect, place of growth and curative virtues. The scientific value of his work was further enhanced by 517 beautifully accurate xylographic, watercolored figures. Plants were never been illustrated in such a realistic manner: their aspect, with roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruits, allowed an easier and more accurate identification.
Fuchs’ herbarium became a main reference for VI Century’s botanics and earned its author the honor to give his name to a plant genus (the Fuchsia, which in turn gave the name to the fuchsia color).
In 2016, Taschen published a new edition of Fuch’s herbarium and that didn’t happen by chance, as 2016 was the year in which plants became extremely cool.
The Urban Jungle trend
While the economic crisis forces people to go places less often than before, the domestic environment has been re-discovered as a new area for products and communication. Just think about Netflix and budget-friendly design homewear: staying at home is not perceived as sad and lonely anymore; it is rather a chill alternative to the stressful urge of always being on the spot. Among Millennials, cooking can be considered a weekend activity – I’m talking about preparing a proper meal, instead of just throwing a bag of salad in a bowl and mixing it with some peppers and a can of tuna – to be shared with the partner, with friends or to be enjoyed alone as a moment of relaxation. The popular Book of Hygge, after all, is all about this: finding happiness in the cosiness and comfort.
Plants definitely give that warm feel to any environment. They are inexpensive elements of decor and, accordingly to the species you choose, they instantly give that vibe you’re looking for, whether it’s a tropical, boho or romantic style. Of course, foliage has also been a main fashion trend over the last few years, with almost all the designers playing with leaves and fruits, jungle prints and so on. Finally, we see the end of the minimal totalitarism, finally we see interiors that are not another elegantly clean ensemble of white, marble and metal!
Botanical illustration, today
Other than fashion and home decor, greens have invaded the world of visual arts: botanical illustration is a trend that goes from graphics to photography and tattoo art.
Freelance illustrator Katie Scott, for example, recently published a book dedicated to the world of botanics: around 100 beautiful drawings, inspired by 18th and 19th Centuries botanical illustration, explore the plant’s life.
Korean photographer Ja Soon Kim focuses on wild flora and fruits to create perfectly arranged compositions that show the nature’s harmony of colors and shapes.
Ukraine tattoo artist Rit Kit specializes in watercolor-styled floral tattoos, created by working with the actual plants in order to achieve the most realistic results.