Tulipa Tulipae - El tulipa ilustrado (Tulipa, Tulipae - the illustated tulip) is a book about botanical art relating to tulips.
It's also the catalogue (in Spanish) for an exhibition at the Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid which is all about how tulips have been represented by botanical art from the 600 years - by botanical artists past and present.
Fortunately for those of us who don't read Spanish it also has an English translation at the end - which is very welcome for a book which is a jolly good read. I've learned a few things while reading it.
The Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid has joined forces with the oldest botanical art society in the world, the Society of Botanical Artists to develop a comprehensive exhibition about the botanical art of tulips covering 89 different varieties.
The objective of the exhibition is to show the distinct botanical aspects of the tulip - in terms of its anatomy, taxonomy and classification groups of the genus Tulipa - alongside exhibitions which demonstrate how the tulip has evolved in terms of botanical art over time.
Unusually for a catalogue of an art exhibition, Tulipa Tulipae is both comprehensive and a jolly good read - if you like botanical art history as I do.
I learned about
The book has been written by
In terms of the artists whose work is included, first of all I'd like to say it is wonderful to be able to see the entire exhibition from my home in London.
The paintings I particularly liked included:
I only have one small gripe about the book - and that is the English Translation is at the back and hence the words that go with the images are not next to them. It's OK for the most part. However I personally would have preferred to have what I think of as the Taschen version i.e. two columns of text on each page - for the two languages - and then images opposite. That's the way it works for the biographies and it would have been a really super book if it had been like that throughout.
In terms of getting hold of the book it's available
Hopefully in future we can get the various Botanical Gardens collaborating so they can each supply the books by the others! They already have so many existing connections - it would be good if their various publishers and stores could also collaborate! :)
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - for anybody who likes tulips and art history. I'm one such so for me it's just perfect!
Longer term, I can only recommend that more botanical art societies do projects like this and become involved in the creation of books which record the output of their members. Exhibitions are wonderful to visit - but you can keep coming back to a favourite book.
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Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
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