Wednesday, June 8, 2016

1614 Dutch Garden from Hortus Floridus by Crispijn van de Passe the Elder 1564-1637

Crispijn van de Passe the Elder (Dutch engraver, c 1564-1637) Spring Garden, from Hortus Floridus, published 1614-15 Colored-In

Hortus Floridus is perhaps the greatest of early horticultural works using copperplate engravings. Long a source of delight for horticulturists, the original 17C work was the creation of Crispin van de Pass, member of a family of Dutch engravers. Van de Passe spent a part of his life in Utrecht. He drew & engraved the largest part of the copperplates; but his father Crispijn senior (ca. 1565-1637) & his brothers Simon (1595-1647) &Willem (1598-ca. 1637) also contributed to the book. Thanks to the family's engraving talents, the Hortus Floridus holds an important place within the botanical iconography. Compared to the common woodcut techniques prevailig during much of the 16C, the copper engravings represented plants & flowers more accurately, but also in an artistic way. 

From the library at Universiteitsbibliotheek Utrecht

In the 1st half of the 17C "tulipomania" raged over Europe. Bulbous & tuberous plants were very fashionable & numerous books were published on the subject, with or without true-to-life pictures. From the 2nd half of the 16C, the tulip, originating from Turkey, was introduced to Western Europe. The botanist Carolus Clusius (1526-1609) played a major part in this process around 1600. Soon a lively interest in the new flower & its different varieties began to develop. As lively trade arose, in which extremely high prices were paid for this trendy flower. At the start, the bulbs themselves were traded, but later transactions involved not yet existing future bulbs. A large-scale speculative trade arose among professional growers & everyday flower-lovers. In 1637, the inevitable crisis put an end to "tulipomania."

Epigram Colored-In

From the library at Universiteitsbibliotheek Utrecht

The letterpress title page of the Hortus Floridus it says: ‘ende door Crispijn vande Pas de Ionghe in ordre gebrocht, ende met groote moeite naar het leven gecontrefeyt’ (produced by Crispijn vande Pas the Younger, & with great effort drawn true-to-life). And also according to the information on the preliminary pages the flowers are drawn true-to-life. To that end Van de Passe used the gardens of lovers of flowers & herbs. Most of these flower lovers most are from Utrecht & mentioned by name, including Johannes van Wolfswinkel, Willem van de Kemp & Jacobus van Nelthorp. He also mentions persons from Amsterdam, Haarlem & Leyden, such as Abraham Castelyn & Carolus Clusius. And in a poem; Van de Passe honors these flower-lovers:

View with consideration / these pleasant flowers;
Brought into the land with great care;
And by the art of the painter made visible for everybody;
From your beautiful gardens / and also from the lush fields.

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