Naturalists and Drawing

One of the special things about drawing, as a medium, is its versatility. The history of drawing is not limited to fine art, but reaches into architecture, design and science, and more. The Naturalists of the 19th century were simultaneously scientists, explorers, and artists. They relied on drawing to record their findings, and interpret their results. The process of creating these drawings and diagrams often involved close, intimate and durational observation. I often wonder how the process of drawing effected the understanding of the subject matter. Can a special or specific kind of knowledge or understanding be gained by this kind of close observation, in comparison to that gained by indirect observation?

Botanical Illustration by Vishnupersaud from mid 1800's
Indian artist commissioned by British Imperialist explorers and naturalists because of his extraordinary painting technique. 

Franz Andreas Bauer (1758 - 1840)
One of the first botanists to create illustrations with the use of a microscope.
Francis Masson (1741 -1805) 
Masson was the first "plant hunter" for Kew gardens, discover over 1700 new species on his various expeditions.  
William Sykes (1790 -1872)


Alexander von Humboldt, Prussian Naturalist, (1769 –1859)
Alexander von Humboldt, Prussian Naturalist, (1769 –1859)
Alexander von Humboldt, Prussian Naturalist, (1769 –1859)
John Ruskin was an interdisciplinary figure, combining writing, art and architectural criticism, travel writing and philosophy with drawing and watercolor.

John Ruskin, English art critic and thinker (1819-1900)

John Ruskin, English art critic and thinker (1819-1900)


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