Abstract Detail

Trail Blazing Women as botanical artists in the 19th and 20th century

Caomhanach, Nuala [1].

Trail Blazing Women as botanical artists in the 19th and 20th century.

Abstract: Botanical art and illustration is a centuries-old tradition of portraying plants for medical and botanical research, documenting species for the historical record, and capturing the aesthetics of the botanical world. As botany began to professionalize in the nineteenth century, the feminization of scientific botanical illustration was already underway. Women entered into this endeavor for two main reasons, on the one hand there were many wives, sisters and daughters who drew plant specimens for their fathers, brothers and husbands. These were familial favors and gentlewomanly pastimes that translated the botanical world onto paper. There were however, women artists who earned their keep as artisans in their own right. By specializing in botany, these women asserted a form of independence within a male-dominated discipline. Through a combination of dismissal and neglect these women artists contributions to science and the art of botany were undermined, and often forgotten.   This symposium will share the results of these intrepid and independent women who emerge not only as accomplished botanical illustrators, but as successful marketers and educators of the science, beauty, and the increasingly critical importance of botanical knowledge. By organizing a symposium focusing on botanical illustration, we will be able to synthesize multiple relevant themes--gender, women, class, race, empire, science --and improve our understanding of the role of the visual arts in botany today. Relevance: The symposium is designed to provide an opportunity for hearing different perspectives on the role of women in botany, the concepts and practice of creating and spreading knowledge,  and address the many questions that it will raise.

1 - New York University, Department of History, 53 Washington Square, Manhattan, New York, NY, 10002, USA

Botanical Art
Scientific Illustration

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Abstract ID:32
Candidate for Awards:None

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