Press

Johannes Simon Holtzbecker. Iris susiana; Iris florentina (detail). From Gottorfer Codex, 1649-1659

Press releases | 7.jan.2013

NEW EXHIBITION: Flowers and World Views

The National Gallery of Denmark will be in full bloom when this spring’s major special exhibition presents a lush, abundant parade of two hundred years’ worth of flower paintings. Here you will find familiar flowers, rare exotic blooms, and decidedly strange plants you have never seen before. All these treasures will be staged as an ideal garden where the pictorial flora will bud and blossom across a range of boundaries: seasons, climate, and geography.

Flowers and World Views
22 March - 20 October 2013

Featuring more than 300 works, the exhibition offers a sensuous walk through the many and varied riches of the world of flowers while also digging deeper, demonstrating that a flower is not just a flower. The art of flower painting has always been in a state of flux. Focusing on the highly varied flower paintings of the 17th and 18th centuries, the exhibition homes in on how the artists’ painstaking depictions of flowers, fruit, and plants have been affected by history and how the genre is always contingent on the prevalent worldviews.

Flowers with a twist
The art of flower painting has been reviled and marginalised in exalted art history circles, but it has been equally loved by artists and art collectors through the ages. Depictions of flowers and plants have existed as far back as art itself. Perhaps precisely because the picture-flowers are far more than mere decoration. Flower painting has adapted, not just to revolts in art history, but also to the at times drastic shifts in humanity’s worldview. The exhibition at the National Gallery of Denmark delves down into a period where mankind stood on the threshold between a symbolic, metaphorical way of viewing the world and a more stringently scientific approach, shedding light on the impact this transition had on German, Flemish, and Dutch flower painting.

A subject for boasting
With its many hugely detailed works the exhibition clearly shows why flowers have been a favoured motif in art. The act of portraying flowers has challenged artists to demonstrate the true extent of their skill and craftsmanship. The exhibition features familiar major works as well as a wide range of paintings that have rarely or never been on display before. Most of the works on display come from the royal collections. This includes the huge four-volume florilegium known as the Gottorfer Codex. Prior to the exhibition the Codex underwent several years of extensive restoration work, which means that a large selection of its many flower paintings now once again appear with the fresh vigour and splendour they had when the artist made his final brushstroke on them. Many of the other works presented in the exhibitions have undergone similar facelifts, and the exhibition site will include a conservation workshop where you can watch real conservators at work on restoring selected flower paintings.

Books
The exhibition is accompanied by the catalogue Flowers and World Views; the catalogue is lavishly illustrated and features articles by art historians, conservators, and botanists. Furthermore, the National Gallery of Denmark has co-operated with the prestigious Prestel Verlag on the publication of a luxury facsimile edition of The Green Florilegium, featuring all 385 flower paintings from one of the finest florilegia created in the 17th century.

The exhibition is supported by
The A.P. Møller og Hustru Chastine Mc-Kinney Møllers Foundation, 15. Juni Fonden, The George Jorck & Emma Jorck Foundation, Samuel H. Kress Foundation, administered by the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation, Stiftung Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesmuseen Schloss Gottorf, Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik's Foundation, The Memorial Trust for Barrister L. Zeuthen and AFSMK (American Friends of SMK)

PRESS PHOTOS are available for download here.


For further information, please contact:

Jakob Fibiger Andreasen
Head of Press
E jakob.fibiger@smk.dk
T +45 3374 8474
M +45 2961 6949

Eva de la Fuente Pedersen
Curator
E eva.pedersen@smk.dk
T +45 3374 8532

Hanne Kolind Poulsen
Curator
E hanne.kolind@smk.dk
T +45 3374 8512

Updated: 8.apr.2014
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