About the exhibition

In the garden of art you could explore two centuries’ worth of flower paintings. With the exhibition Flowers and World Views the SMK invited you to enter a 17th century Baroque garden filled with flower paintings.

A 300-year old treasure

Many of the paintings had never been on public display at the museum before. Their condition had been too delicate. This was also true of one of the museum’s highlights – the album or "florilegium" known as the Gottorfer Codex – which our conservators restored over the course of several years. For the first time ever, the paintings were exhibited in Flowers and World Views.

A picture of a flower is a picture of its time

The exhibition delved down into a period where mankind was poised between two views of the world – a symbolic and a rather more scientific approach – and shed light on how this clash is evident in the art of flower painting. 

With the Gottorfer Codex firmly planted at the core of the exhibition, the show related the story of how 17th and 18th century artists portrayed flowers. Flower painting has always been an art form in a state of constant change because the artists’ renditions of flowers and plants are contingent on history and on how the artists view the world.

The root of a Scilla peruviana L. from the Gottorfer Codex

The Gottorfer Codex relates the story of the 17th century clash between a symbol-oriented and a rather more scientific approach to the world.

The book features entirely realistic depictions of plant roots as well as naked men hanging unfeasibly from the flower’s petals.

Updated: 26.apr.2018
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