At the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is a new exhibition opening on August 12th. Highlighting images produced by botanical Illustrators (realistic artist) whose scientifically accurate resemblance serves as an essential historical record of plant species. Focusing on global conservation, the exhibition will educate the public about threatened and extinct plants.
This exhibition is highlighting the 44 framed botany artworks of endangered plant species by various international Scientific Illustrators from Australia, Brazil, Israel, South Africa, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States, eight interpretive panels, two cases of specimens and objects from the museum’s botany collection.
“Determining which species are endangered is a complicated endeavor,” said exhibition curator and conservation biologist, Gary Krupnick. “With conservation assessments of plant species behind, we are devising ways to use data from historically collected specimens to identify rare and endangered plant species. The museum’s work in conservation assessment is critical as each year more species are lost to habitat destruction and degradation.”
Curator, Conservation Biologist-Gary Krupnick © Smithsonian Institution
Photo by Jennifer J. Hill
Scientific illustration is a combined effort between scientist and illustrator to interconnect scientific images with ideas of precise vision and audience.
Doing a rough sketch of a specimen as the scientist is talking about his/her vision of the expected outcome and referring to the drawing in progress by collaboration between artist and scientist concerning the specific required details.
Many illustrations are sketched directly from live models, but some may involve convincing images, showing the passage of time, 3-D cutaways and cross-sections, extinct species and microscopic organisms.This career requires an exceptional skill in realist drawing, and in a range of art mediums.
An aptitude for science is essential for a scientific illustrator, then, they must specialize in an area, such as medicine, paleontology, biology, botanical, zoological, etc.; however, an in-depth understanding of the field is needed to help an illustrator design the required visual image.
Beginning on Mondays, Aug. 16, and continuing through December, there will be a live illustration program: The Scientific Illustrator Is In. It will feature guest botanical illustrators creating illustrations with digital illustration technology and traditional media and answering visitors’ questions.
Scientific Illustrator, Alice R.Tangerini, © Smithsonian Institution
National Museum of Natural History, Photo by Jennifer J. Hill
The museum will offer free programming in conjunction with the exhibition that will educate visitors about the critical role scientific illustration plays in this conservation initiative.
The Guild of Natural Science Illustrator was actually created through the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History to include exhibitions to display their own Illustrator’s work.
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